Place found to build the Workshop of the Future

Unusual building to be erected in Minsk’s Gazeta Pravda Street in a few years’ time

By Veronica Degtyareva

The building will resemble a restaurant or an expensive hotel, being the first ‘energy-passive’ public Workshop of the Future, covering 2,200 square metres. The project, run by Minsk and Dortmund educational centres, envisages the construction of a consultative centre, conference halls and an exhibition of renewable energy. It will be open to all, allowing the public to see the advantages of eco-friendly houses, which require little energy for heating and are made from ecologically friendly construction materials (domestically produced and imported) while using solar panels to provide electricity. The new building will be the most eco-friendly in the country.

The first foundation stone at the Minsk International Educational Centre has been laid by representatives of Chernobyl organisations from 12 countries, as part of the international Twenty Five Years After Chernobyl conference. The unusual design will demonstrate the advantages of energy saving technologies and, according to the Rector of the International Sakharov Environmental Univeristy, Semen Kundas, ties in well with the theme of energy efficiency and renewable energy, in the wake of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

“25 years ago, the Chernobyl disaster raised a question for all humankind: how can we live with alternative energy sources,” notes Anatoly Lavnichuk, who heads the Energy Department at Minsk City Executive Committee. “After recent events in Japan, this issue is even more topical. We’ll be able to look at life with different eyes via the Workshop of the Future; it will remind us that we must not only extract but preserve our wealth. Minsk consumes much energy, with only 3 percent generated from alternative sources. The Workshop of the Future is an important step in promoting these technologies — through our lifestyle and our enterprises.”

3.5m Euros is needed for the new building, so external support is vital for the worthy project. “Over the past 15 years, Belarus has reduced its energy consumption almost 2.5-fold,” stresses the Director of the Energy Efficiency Department at Belgosstandart (Belarus’ State Committee for Standardisation), Leonid Shenets. “We’d like everyone to be able to come to this building to personally see how new energy saving technologies operate.”

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