a frontrunner in sustainable buildings

Growing up in Germany, Juliane Münch was taught to handle the environment with care. It was a moral obligation. That is part of the reason why Juliane chose sustainability and green buildings to be her professional expertise.

Today, buildings carry almost half of the world’s energy consumption. This means that by designing more sustainable and climate-friendly solutions for our buildings, there is a great chance of lifting some of the heavy strains on the environment.

This was a primary motivation for Juliane to focus on sustainable buildings.

She has worked in several countries during the last four years at COWI and has successfully completed a large number of projects – most of them with clear, green footprints.

Taking sustainable development to the front line

When Juliane joined COWI in 2013, the movement for sustainable business was on a roll. With a ripple effect, it has expanded from Europe to the Middle East, Far East and Asia and it has included sustainable building projects and designs based on the idea that buildings should have a positive impact on the users and the environment.

Juliane is one of the most skilled project managers in the field and a dedicated specialist when it comes to green building certification schemes such as LEED and DGNB.

“As a teenager, I was part of Greenpeace and we wanted to raise awareness on issues such as energy intensity of manufacturing aluminium cans from raw materials. You have to start somewhere. I’m still concerned about the environment and I want to change the world for the better,” she says.

Her contribution to making a better world for the next generation – including her own newly born daughter – is to work methodically within structured frameworks and guidelines. Due to her track record, Juliane was appointed to the first technical group under the Danish Green Building Council when the local Green Building Scheme first was created.

Making a big difference

In the UAE, Oman and Qatar the climate is hot, dusty winds blow in from the deserts and it scarcely rains. To Juliane, these conditions, combined with a rising climate, means new opportunities.

Although she believes that even a small contribution helps in creating a more sustainable future, she admits that being part of the larger projects at COWI gives her great satisfaction and pride.

“I see it as a great opportunity to make a very big difference,” Juliane explains.

Even implementing small things can make a significant difference. 
Juliane Münch

Green footprints in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf 

During her 18 months at the Arabian Peninsula, she focused on two major projects. In Oman, she was involved in the construction of a new 15,000 m2 shopping mall.

As one of the first LEED certified buildings in the country, the measures and requirements were new to the market. The ambition level for this project was LEED Gold.

In Qatar, in the middle of the desert, the project was to build a facility to support the FIFA World Cup programme in 2022.

Again, Juliane left a green footprint.

She trained local resources in Green Building standards and managed to get the standards integrated into the design and construction.

“Leaders in the region have the ambitions to build green, however, the climate makes it challenging to build in a sustainable way. Another obstacle is that green solutions and technologies have not been implemented throughout, so even implementing small things makes a significant difference here,” Juliane says.

“What’s the alternative?”

Always on the lookout for new opportunities and a way to create progress, her personal position is changing too.

Although she is about to leave her role as a specialist in Green Buildings, she will bring along her sustainable mindset to the job as Project Manager for construction projects.

“It’s part of who I am. I think it’s a matter of making it easy for people to make decisions in favour of the environment. What’s the alternative? We need a more sustainable planet.”