September 2009

Sustainable town and building

Sustainable towns: an approach, the first elements of answers

CSTB and the PUCA organised a debate in May this year around the “Towards sustainable towns – Paths followed by four European urban areas".

Gust over Nantes railway station

How much energy is produced by small wind turbines in urban environment? The CSTB is providing its know-how on this subject at disposal of clients and architects. A particular example is the future Nantes railway station.

Optimised management of waste, water and energy flows

The interactions existing between city and biosphere are still poorly recognised in terms of material and energy flows, both as regards the organisation and structuring of corresponding trading activities. For the purpose of guiding the territorial authorities with the aims of their policy, the CSTB has set up a research programme designed to develop a decision-making aid tool for optimised management of waste, water and energy flows.

The European Commission launch of the BUILD UP Internet portal to encourage reduction of the energy consumption of buildings

On June 16th, The European Commission launched the BUILD UP interactive web portal ( offering access to a wide range of information regarding the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Building professionals, public authorities, umbrella organisations and home owners and tenants will have tailored access allowing the sharing of information on best practices and energy reduction technologies across Europe.

4th European Construction Technology Platform Conference - Innovation in Construction: taking the lead in greening the future

The pivotal role played by the construction sector in the new global concepts of sustainable development and economic recovery is now widely recognised. In Europe, this has led to reinforced Public Private Partnerships which are targeting innovation in the construction sector and are setting off with the clear objective to take the lead in greening the future.

Control of health and safety risks

Moulds should worry!

Moulds are the scourge of art works and historic monuments: when they become visible, it is already too late to save the damaged work of art. This is why the LRMH (Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques – Historic Monuments Research Laboratory) called upon CSTB and more particularly its new mould detection system.

Gan tower: no possible return for effluents!

It must be impossible for potentially toxic effluents released outside a building to be picked up by air intakes. CSTB carried out a series of tests on the Gan tower in the Paris La Défense district to check that this type of “loopback” is impossible.

A pilot study to assess the effectiveness of anti-Legionella treatments

Legionnaires' disease is fatal in between 15 and 20% of cases. The bacteria carrying the disease belong to the genus Legionella, and proliferate in domestic hot water systems that provide favourable conditions for their growth. A pilot scale unit simulating an actual size domestic hot water system has been built by the CSTB for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of anti-Legionella treatments.

Architecture and innovation

A genuine contemporary "Renaissance" hotel

The most recent Marriott hotel has just been inaugurated on Avenue de Wagram in Paris. It is built on the site of the former Théâtre de l'Empire that exploded in 2005 after hosting Jacques Martin's Sunday television programs for more than 20 years. The architect Christian de Portzamparc has made a facade composed of six staged glass and aluminium waves. This is an overview of a building designed like a braid, for which CSTB has issued a Technical Experimental Assessment.

The Müller footbridge, allying safety and aesthetics

The new Müller footbridge was inaugurated in the spring of 2009, after having been closed to traffic. The footbridge connects the centre of Ivry-sur-Seine to the centre of Ivry-Port, two districts separated by 135 metres of SNCF rail track, otherwise uncrossable. To undertake this project, the client, the Ivry Municipal Authority, decided to enlist the aid of experts. These included DVVD, an architectural and engineering consultant, Baudin Châteauneuf for the metal framework and the CSTB. This is how the anticipated success was achieved.

Corinne Vezzoni: site identity

Corinne Vezzoni, an architect from the South of France, refers readily to the landscaped and urban context to describe her work. "How to reveal what is already there? How to reveal what is here and not there?", was how she summed things up at a "Carte blanche" meeting organised by the CSTB and Archinov. Looking back at our talks with an architect whose unambiguous views concerning the environment confirm the work of an essentially Mediterranean flavour.

Architecture competition, organised around solar energy

The Solar Decathlon is an international university architecture competition created in 2002 in the United States by the US Department of Energy. The ENSAG (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble – Grenoble Higher National School of Architecture) team was selected to make an energy independent prototype house for the Solar Decathlon Europe, which is to be held in Madrid in June 2010. It called upon the skills of CSTB, consulted for its building expertise and particularly economic design and use of solar energy.

Quality of products and structures

BRE Trust, CSTB, BRE Global and CertiVéA: an agreement to develop a European building environmental quality certification

BRE's actions in the United Kingdom and CSTB's actions in France have been deciding influences in the promotion of best practices in the construction sector to respect the environment and to set up high environmental quality standards, through their BREEAM and tertiary HQE evaluations. The scope and intensity of relations between BRE and CSTB have increased with the recent release of SB Alliance.

Shops and logistics platforms can apply for the NF Tertiary buildings - HQE® approach certification

The first operations of NF Tertiary Buildings - HQE® approach – Shops and Logistics Platforms Reference documentation, have just been certified, confirming their qualities and environmental performances. They illustrate the intention of players concerned in industrial and commercial real estate to apply a sustainable construction approach.

50,000 NF Etudes Thermiques® certified studies

At a time when the energy performance of buildings is at the heart centre of environmental issues, and thermal regulations continue to get tougher, NF Etudes Thermiques® certification has become a necessity. Over 50,000 studies have been certified since this mechanism was introduced in 2007.

Research and development

Smart buildings take off

In the current context of efforts to improve performance and comfort in the use of buildings, a lot of thinking has been set up at the Instituts Carnot resulting in joint operations between CSTB, CEA and the TELECOM-EUROCOM institute. Interpretation …

Imagine: 3D modelling in a new era

Everyone will now be capable of making three-dimensional digital models. Or almost everyone ... Photos taken using a simple digital camera are sufficient for the software developed by CSTB and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées to create an interactive model from photos.

BIM's Day, digital model day

As part of the eXpert project, the FFB (Fédération Française du Bâtiment – French Building Federation) opened its doors to digital modelling at Bim's (Building Information Model) Day on May 13 this year.

Society approaches

Keeping the elderly at home and independent

Luc Châtel, then Secretary of State responsible for Industry and Consumption, visited CSTB's Sophia Antipolis site on May 22 this year. The program included a visit to the GERHOME laboratory, demonstrations of application developed in e-health fields, but also the creation of the Centre National de Référence (CNR) Santé à Domicile et Autonomie to develop and provide solutions for the health at home and the independence. A project that is not foreign to CSTB's skills …