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Live and work in better buildings: Commission looks towards common indicators for sustainable buildings

The European Commission has published a communication confirming its intention to develop core indicators to assess the sustainability of buildings.  This is one of the measures announced in a policy paper aimed at improving the environmental performance of buildings.  The communication notes that whilst interest in improving resource efficiency in the construction sector is growing at national and at EU level, different national public and private approaches are increasing the complexity of the working environment for all stakeholders. The lack of common objectives, indicators and data, and the lack of mutual recognition of different approaches could soon undo progress made to date and lead to distortions in the internal market for professionals in the field of planning, designing, constructing and manufacturing.

The Commission uses the communication to outline a process that will invite stakeholders including public authorities, social partners, investors, insurers, architects, contractors, demolition operators, manufacturers, recyclers and providers of EMAS assessment schemes to:

  • Discuss objectives and indicators for assessing the sustainability of buildings  during 2014-2015;
  • Discuss the practical implementation of a framework containing core indicators during 2014-2015;
  • With a view to contributing to the development of this framework (2015-2016).

The communication also lists a number of possible indicators for this sector, such as

  • total energy use,
  • materials’ durability
  • recycled content and
  • indoor comfort.

It also aims to encourage greater recycling of construction and demolition waste as, apart from a few exceptions, average recovery across the EU is just below 50%. To do this the Commission wants to see a sharing of best practices on diverting this waste away from landfills and, when possible, with its environmental costs integrated into the price of virgin materials to boost the use of secondary raw materials.

READ MORE - http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/pdf/SustainableBuildingsCommunication.pdf

Issue 35