Thinking Energy Efficient Urban Design

The Urban Design Studio for Energy Efficient Design and Management focusses on holistic strategies and elements of energy efficiency. This workshop is an activity of the EU-ACP EDULINK II project Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in Built Environment Training in the Caribbean (CarEnTrain). The facilitator is Dr Bart Janssens from the University of Antwerp, Belgium one of the partners on the project. It was held previously in Saint Lucia and Suriname as part of a pre-conference activity for the Caribbean Urban Forum. This time, it was held on the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus with a broader focus of not only university campus development but the development of urban areas in general.

Prinicpal's Office, U.W.I. St. Augustine. A building originally designed for the climate of Trinidad and Tobago. Some features have since been changed to facilitate air conditioning.
Prinicpal’s Office, U.W.I. St. Augustine. A climatically designed building. Some features have since been changed to facilitate air conditioning.

One of the main themes looked at was the link designing and planning for climate. This was focussed on by Dr Janssens and Mr Mark Raymond, Chairman of the U.W.I. Green Campus and UWI lecturer. One specific example was that of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The city was planned in such a way to take advantage of the breezes of the area and Dr Janssens took a look at how the city developed from its creation. Further to this examples of modern tropical structures from around world were looked at and their energy efficient design elements highlighted. Dr Janssens went on to discuss the elements that need to be looked at in planning and designing a building or town which fell into two concepts called Trias Ecologica and Pentas Ecologica.

Dr. Bart Janssens, University of Antwerp facilitator for the Urban Design Studio
Dr. Bart Janssens, University of Antwerp facilitator for the Urban Design Studio

Also introduced, were tools and international schemes and guides such as BREEAM, CLEAR, LEED which deal with green building and design. Dr Janssens believes that these can be used or used as a basis for a Caribbean guide. Prior to the workshop, participants were asked to do their own assessments based on information provided. Three participants were able to do this and presented their findings at the start of the workshop. Later, all participants formed groups and completed an assessment on an area of their choosing on the UWI campus. They were instructed to not only look at buildings themselves but the surrounding areas and how they connected to the campus. They then presented their findings as a final activity of the studio.
New with this studio was an additional day for round table discussions on energy efficiency and campus management on UWI and Built Environment standards, policies, codes in Trinidad and Tobago. The first discussion began with a presentation on the U.W.I.’s involvement with the UI Green Metrics. It was noted that much of the data was unavailable or had to be roughly estimated. For the Metrics, all campuses were included which was a difficult task which often skewed the data. In spite of the lack of data, from what was gathered one could see that there was still much room to improve. Participants from the university spoke on the lack of cohesion especially on St Augustine campus between the main campus and Mt. Hope campus. Out of this discussion participants agreed on the need for a regional UWI policy on sustainability and a UWI green metrics for the university to track the various campuses.

Participants in the Urban Design Studio discussion.
Participants in the Urban Design Studio discussion.

The second discussion was entitled ‘Green Building, Who Cares?’ It was held on the UWI campus and hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council (TTGBC). This discussion focussed on building policies and codes and how green building and urban design could be incorporated. During the course of the discussion, two main points cropped up. The first point was that several committees had been created by the government previously to discuss policies and codes and the incorporation of these ideologies however there was no further movement in policy creation and update after the findings were submitted. The second point was that of implementation within the communities and among the general population.

'Green Building. Who Cares?' A discussion on Built Environment standards, policies and codes and how to incorporate energy efficiency into them.
‘Green Building. Who Cares?’ A discussion on Built Environment standards, policies and codes and how to incorporate energy efficiency into them.

Decisions and main points that came out of this discussion were:
1. Focus on education and sensitization
2. Reinitiate plans and policies for built environment and sustainability
3. Creation of simple guide for incorporating green elements into construction and building design

5th ITU Green Standards Week

HD__Banner_Web_Green Standard__383458


ICTs will help us better manage our resources, improve and enhance services creating smarter cities but they also require resources and produce much waste especially due to quick turnover of products.  How do we make our cities smarter and environmentally sustainable?

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) a specialised branch of the UN is hosting its 5th annual Green Standards Week.  The Green Standards Week acts as a global platform for discussion and knowledge-sharing to raise awareness of opportunities to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to expedite the transition to smart sustainable cities and an environmentally sustainable urban future.  The Green Standards Week, organized by ITU every year (since 2011), brings together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, smart city planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts, academia and others.

The 5th Green Standards Week is organized by the ITU together with the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean Region (BCRC-Caribbean); the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the South American Region (CRBAS); the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Regional Bureau for Sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); and the United Nations University (UNU).


  • 14 December: 10th ITU Symposium on ICTs, Environment & Climate Change – From the New Climate Agreement to the New Urban Agenda, jointly organized with UN-Habitat.
  • 15 December: Forum on “Turning the E-waste Challenge into an Opportunity”, jointly organized by BCRC-Caribbean, CRBAS, ECLAC, ITU, UNESCO, UNIDO and UNU.
  • 16 December (morning): Training on “Green ICT Policies and Standards”, jointly organized by CRBAS, ECLAC and ITU.
  • 16 December (afternoon): Forum on “Driving the Connect 2020 Agenda”.
  • 17- 18 December (morning only): Forum on “Powering Smart Cities with the Internet of Things”, jointly organized by ITU, UNESCO and UN-Habitat.

Participation is free of charge and all sessions will be held in both English and Spanish.  Please check out the 5th ITU Green Standards Week page for more information.