Indonesia is a growth economy that is experiencing an historically large building boom. But is it possible to create a sustainable building culture in a society that has never experienced a shortage of fossil fuels? In any case, that is the intention of the Danida project in which Aarhus University is participating.
In cooperation with Danida, researchers and lecturers will help establish a knowledge environment
on sustainable construction in Indonesia.
Indonesia is one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies and is in the midst of a historically large building boom. There is therefore an urgent need to create a sustainable construction culture, and there is enormous potential in making savings on the CO2 account.
Aarhus University researchers within the field of civil and architectural engineering have entered into collaboration with Bakrie University to integrate more knowledge about energy technology in research environments and education programmes. They are teaching the Indonesians to work with a sustainable principle at all stages of the building process.
Knowledge will transform the building culture
The collaboration will strengthen the Indonesian engineers’ knowledge about how to optimise energy efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of the building, from production of materials to design, construction and disposal. At the same time, they will gain basic knowledge about how to construct buildings that can operate with low energy consumption, particularly regarding ventilation, cooling and heat recovery.
“It’s basically all about transferring knowledge across borders. We’re well ahead in Denmark in terms of sustainable construction, and we’ve got some interesting cases. You need to understand energy processes at all stages of construction – this is essential if you want to change a culture. And it’s fundamentally about building up knowledge, which means the university collaboration is a good place to start,” says Professor (Docent)Søren Wandahl.
New engineers as change agents
Researchers from Aarhus University are helping Bakrie University to make adjustments to the curriculum for civil and environmental engineers. The first group will graduate during the course of the coming years. They will meet the labour market with a significantly enhanced environmental profile, and Professor (Docent) Wandahl hopes that early action in the degree programmes can contribute to a change of mindset in Indonesia – not only in terms of technology, but also at the economic and social level.
“It’s very likely that the next generation of civil and environmental engineers will get to boost more sustainable construction. They’ll be the agents of change in the Indonesian building branch and put the environment on the agenda with more solid technical knowledge of building construction. This can lead to a crucial shift in consciousness in a society experiencing an extreme level of industrialisation and a culture that is different from the Danish because it has never experienced a shortage of fossil fuels,” he says.
So far the Aarhus University researchers have identified the problem areas in the Indonesian building culture with a focus on the content of the civil and the environmental engineering degree programmes, and they will use this to design new courses.
In addition to acquiring technical core competences, the Indonesian engineering students will learn completely new procedures, and the Danish researchers will train their teachers in using some of the educational and didactic methods that characterise the engineering degree programmes at Aarhus University.