In light of ongoing climate change and in line with the Action Plan on Climate Change in the Alps adopted during the Xth Alpine Conference in 2009, parties to the convention must increase cooperation in the construction sector.
The buildings sector has to find new solutions for cutting emissions. The introduction and long-term implementation of new building standards such as zero energy buildings and energy-plus buildings will make significant contributions to achieving this goal. The First Alpine Building Conference under the motto "Towards Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)" took place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on 16/17 March 2016 on the initiative of the German Presidency. The conference was organised jointly by the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB), the Bavarian chamber of architects and the Technical University of Munich with the support of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention. 250 participants from the convention parties Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention as well as from the observer organisations CIPRA and Club Arc Alpin attended the conference. The conference also welcomed representatives from Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
In his brief welcome address, Markus Reiterer, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, thanked organisers and participants for their contributions to the implementation of the Energy Protocol and expressed his confidence that the conference's discussion results would be submitted to the bodies of the Alpine Convention.
The main topics of the conference were zero-energy buildings and sustainable neighbourhoods in the context of the specific characteristics of the Alpine region and its great variety of regional architectural heritage. These were illustrated in presentations from parties to the Alpine Convention and from internationally renowned experts. The focus was on interdisciplinary exchange between decision makers and architects, planners, engineers and researchers.
Participants were actively involved in the broad discussions on the issues at hand. Germany will continue to support an exchange of experience among the Alpine countries on the topics of sustainable and energy-efficient construction and Baukultur.