Mr. Hamilton, at the panel on „Europe and Global Competition“ you were talking about passive houses and their chance for Europe. aspern Vienna´s Urban Lakeside is a new city for about 20.000 people which is currently developed. If Dr. Michael Häupl, the major of Vienna, asked you for consultation in terms of sustainability issues, what would be your answer?
I think it is not so much about technology, it is about how can we really live together on earth. We can´t afford to use so much energy, we need new models of living, how to use less energy by living comfortably and with a high quality. Such an area could be a model for many other places; because if people can see rather than hear about it, would have a huge resoncance for the future.
In the US I observe a lack of imagination. People can´t imagine how you simply can live differently and use less energy. The passive house is one example for a nice, modern building. When you tell the people in Northern Minnesota that there is no heater they won´t believe it. There are so many small things, that make a great difference at the end!
You were also mentioning that Europe could increase it´s GDP by sellling this knowledge and technology.
Yes! Europe invented the technology of passive houses and could make more efforts in selling these products. There is a real challenge to brake the link between consumption of ressources and production of wealth – this is the ultimate challenge. With 9 million people we can´t use the same energy that we use now. And there is a great opportunity in the emerging markets. Innovation is needed!
What are key factors for innovation due to your experience?
I think there is a role for governments to provide incentives in which innovation is encouraged and then rewarded. So that innovators stay where they innovate. What governments can do to avoid brain train is to encourage high skill innovators to stay, we need subsidies for young people, a nice environment. The question is if they have a good relationship to industry and government, knowing that they are supportive. Europe is a knowledge economy!
And there comes the notion of clusters of local governments, universities, businesses, offices, researches; they should work together to promote interactions – this is really critical. Much is about networks. One of the most important drivers for success is that you are connected to other innovators because you can´t innovate in isolation!