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Construction and Demolition Waste

Interview Questions
Question 1
Mr. Theopemptou as Environmental Commissioner of Cyprus what is your opinion about the way in which the construction industry is functioning?
There is still a lot of things to be done a within the industry in order to bring it up to an environmentally acceptable level with waste handling being one of the biggest.
Question 2
As regards to carbon dioxide emissions produced by the residential sector, can you briefly describe the situation in Cyprus?
Vast majority of carbon emissions in Cyprus are due to transport and electricity production. The residential sector is expected to improve slightly based on the new energy performance of buildings law. On the other hand the obligatory aspects of the law are very light and my expectations on this are unfortunately very low.
Question 3
What do you think about the Environmental Laws that contribute to sustainable construction?
We have yet to get these in force in Cyprus. Energy performance of buildings, the energy performance and the management of construction waste are the three most significant laws that are expected to affect the way buildings are being built in Cyprus. As I mentioned before my expectations on the energy front are very low but I expect however the waste management to have a very positive impact on the environment.
Question 4
Do you believe that Cyprus is going to reach the 20/20/20 goals successfully?
No I very much doubt this. I expect that we will even have difficulty in meeting even the lowest targets s set specifically for us eg renewables. Electricity Authority of Cyprus is currently buing emissions rights that cost around €20m per year as a result of our inadequate planning.
Question 5
Do you think that the Government subsidies given to Contractors are satisfactory?
I am not aware if any subsidies are available to the construction industry specifically. There are sizeable grants available for any industry that is willing to invest in improving their environmental performance.
Question 6
What are the main weaknesses of the construction industry related to the Environment?
Unsustainable building designs, bad energy performance of buildings, no measures taken towards an improved air quality (we suffer from high PM10 particle concentration) through dust management and worse of all a total disregard of construction and demolition waste management.
In addition they are often accused of complete disregard of nature protection with almost all violations of this type, to be attributed to them. They appear to be prepared to built anywhere.
In an effort to maximise profits they also exert pressure for lower energy performance requirements in buildings.
Question 7
What other measures the Government can take in order to minimise the carbon dioxide emission to the environment produced by the residential sector?
We need to find a way to replace the old central heating systems which have very low efficiencies and do campaigns on the need of proper annual maintenance.
People are not aware of the benefits, the various options available for heating and air conditioning and the subsidies available.
Architects on the island usually make no efforts to include even the simplest bioclimatic features on houses they design, how to minimise the need for lighting and heating.
Question 8
Do you think that the government motivates well the contractors to use environmental friendly techniques?
Apart for subsidies on renewables we do not have any other motivation schemes in place, or labelling systems.
Question 9
What do you think about the way European Union deals with environmental issues?
Moving too slow, too relaxed and not as tough on violations.
Question 10
Are there any specific sustainable construction methods should be used in Cyprus?
Good question that needs to be researched specifically for the types of materials and our weather. We built houses using the same materials as 40 years ago. The only change is that we now see more and more steel structures (am not sure if this is good) and wore wooden houses.
Question 11
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods?
From what I hear from owners of wooden houses they appear to have a much better heat insulation than normal.
Question 12
What do you think about the way in which promoting sustainable construction in Cyprus?
Sustainability is not a word heard often or applied in Cyprus and the building sector is no different to that. If nothing else, the building sector is by far the worst example.

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