Last edited 24 May 2021

BPIE report urges EU to incorporate the carbon footprint of construction into policy

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Contents

[edit] Introduction

Research from the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) published in May 2021, suggests that while some European Union members have introduced comprehensive policies to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and construction, this should now be coordinated and regulated at the European level.

The report 'Introducing whole-life carbon metrics: Recommendations for highly efficient and climate-neutral buildings', stresses how the EU's legislative changes for buildings and construction are a critical opportunity to create policy and investment certainty about carbon performance rules.

[edit] EU environmental goals

The EU aims to be climate neutral by 2050, requiring a fundamental transformation of the construction industry. Direct building CO2 emissions need to more than halve by 2030 to be on track for the 2050 target.

In its Renovation Wave strategy, the European Commission announced its intention to introduce a '2050 whole life-cycle performance roadmap' to reduce carbon emissions from buildings' by 2023.

Oliver Rapf, Executive Director of BPIE said,"For new buildings built to the highest energy efficiency standards, the low operational energy demand means that embodied carbon becomes the most significant source of carbon emissions over the building's lifetime.”

Embodied carbon emissions are associated with energy consumption and chemical processes during raw material extraction, manufacture, transportation, assembly, replacement, construction, demolition and disposal, accounting for approximately 10% to 20% of EU buildings' CO2 footprint.

To address this, BPIE suggests a common EU approach to whole-life carbon (WLC) emissions. This will require better coordination across policy measures addressing and affecting the different stages of the construction value chain.

[edit] Recalibrating targets

In the report, the BPIE finds that the introduction of a '2050 whole life-cycle performance roadmap', scheduled for 2023, is out of sync with the current legislative review process.

Rapf said, "Policy action taken by a number of EU member states demonstrates that whole-life carbon policies are possible and desirable. The European Commission should reflect this in its forthcoming proposals in 2021 (for example of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive), to make sure that we don't lose time in the fight against climate change".

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[edit] External resources

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