As a catalyst for rethinking the way we live, COVID-19 has made the topic of sustainability more important than ever, especially in the context of the parallel climate emergency.

In the field of construction, the data are staggering: it emits 40% of CO₂ emissions, leaves 50% of waste and consumes up to 90% of resources. But the big question here is educational — are we deeply aware of this problem and its possible solution, the sustainable buildings?

By definition, sustainable construction is what causes the least possible damage to the ecosystem, is built and operates with savings of natural resources and is used for a long time. For architects, it is a field for meaningful experiments in search of better solutions, materials and design.

However, the conversation about sustainability includes many other parties: politicians, investors, builders, bankers, homeowners. What is the way for all of them to be involved, to sit at the same table and one day even impose green buildings as the norm?

This question brings together three dedicated experts who discuss where the process of sustainability can begin and how to use the fact that we as a society are most willing to solve a problem when it becomes personal to each of us.


Friederike Kluge

Practicing architect and Professor of Building Construction and Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz, Germany. Together with Meik Rehrmann, in 2014 she founded the architectural office Alma Maki in Basel, which designs residential buildings tailored to their occupants in several European countries. Friederike is interested in the whole construction process and considers the craft to be an important part of the architecture, which is why Alma Maki often carries out the projects with their own hands.


Martin Yanev

Co-Founder of the property development company ACME, specialized in design and management of sustainable buildings. Martin has a master’s degree in economics and is a certified real estate manager with many years of experience in project and risk management, including in the banking sector. He is interested in sustainable construction, innovations and energy efficiency and is a member of the Board of the National Center for Intelligent Transport and Energy Systems.


Vessela Valtcheva-McGee

Architect with a focus on green buildings and President of the Bulgarian Green Building Council. Vessela has solid knowledge and practice with various certification systems for sustainable construction, especially the American LEED, and is a Managing partner in Triple Green Building Group — a company that offers full service in the field of sustainable construction and follows the principles of balance between economic growth, social commitment and responsibility to the environment.


Ina Valkanova

Architect and Urban Planning Consultant, Ina is a member of the GRADOSCOPE collective. She completed her architecture studies in RWTH Aachen and Berlin University of Arts, and is now taking her Doctor’s degree in ETH Zürich, researching Trakia Economic Zone in Plovdiv with the team of Newrope. Ina has worked with Alvaro Siza in Porto and Benthem Crouwel in Amsterdam, she was the investment and innovation coordinator of Vision Sofia 2050, and has also given lectures at the Architecture weeks in Copenhagen and Belgrade.