Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Commission will assist architects, builders and public authorities amidst the sustainable renovation wave unleashed by the European Green Deal.
The announcement was made yesterday by Commission president von der Leyen, who said the official launch of Level(s), the European Framework for Sustainable Buildings, represents a common European approach to assess and report on the sustainability of buildings.
Welcoming the new initiative, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said, “Level(s) is designed to improve the sustainability of buildings throughout their lifecycle”.
The EU’s executive intention is to speed up a broad and sustainable renovation in the building sector, strengthening policy initiatives defined by the Circular Economy Plan as well as the Renovation Wave Strategy.
This new EU scheme will contribute also to the president’s initiative for a new European Bauhaus. The Renovation Wave will unfold drawing on the use of regulation, funding and technical assistance from across the whole renovation value chain in order to meet its goals.
Commission spokesperson for climate action and energy Tim McPhie described achieving energy efficiency in buildings as one of Europe’s “crucial topics” in terms of cutting emissions down to net-zero by 2050.
Overall, Level(s) is an important tool to help all sectors involved in construction to play their role by improving buildings for housing, studying and working while also speeding Europe’s transition towards a more circular economic model.
The initiative has been well received by the Coalition for Energy Savings, which endorsed the Renovation Wage Strategy goal “to at least double the annual energy renovation rate which would help to reduce energy consumption in the buildings sector by 14% compared to 2015.”
The Secretary General of the European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE), Adrian Joyce was similarly enthusiastic. “The Renovation Wave sets out a lot of good and inspiring ideas.
For the first time, the Commission has put substantial time and thought behind a travel plan that focuses on renovating Europe’s existing building stock and we’re fully on board! To see it executed, now we need to navigate the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive.”
According to the Commission, buildings account for 36% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Looking at the whole life cycle, including not just use, but also manufacturing of construction products, construction proper and end of life, buildings consume half of our energy. In addition, the buildings and construction sector consume nearly half of all extracted materials, one third of the water we use and one third of our waste.
Seen in this context, Level(s) offers a framework to help design and construct sustainable buildings with the whole lifecycle in mind. It focuses attention on the most important aspects of a building’s performance, providing a simple entry point to what can be a very complex area.
The framework has been developed for use by the various actors taking part in the construction of a building, as well as by those managing assessment and certification schemes to make sure that their criteria reflect the most important priorities for the circular economy at European level.