Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the Building Sector

The European Commission adopted on 2 July new proposals which aim to reduce the environmental impact of new and renovated buildings by increasing resource efficiency and improving the information available about the environmental performance of buildings. The Communication on Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the Building Sector was published as part of the Circular Economy package which also includes a Communication “Towards circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe”, a legislative proposal on waste policy review and two other communications on green jobs and a green action plan for SMEs.

Almost one half of the EU’s final energy consumption and extracted materials, and about one third of EU water consumption, are related to the construction and occupancy of buildings. When buildings are constructed, used and demolished they often have a substantial impact on the environment. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “We hear a lot about the energy performance of buildings, but we need to look at the bigger picture as well. Better public information on environmental performance is a sure way of raising the overall performance of our buildings. That’s good for the environment, good for people’s health, and good for their wallets.” 

The European Commission will now develop a framework with a limited number of indicators for assessing the environmental performance of buildings. This will be done in consultation with stakeholders and the first set of indicators should be available in two to three years. The aim is to develop a tool which can be used across Europe both by private actors and public authorities. Steps will also be taken to directly improve the environmental performance of buildings. 

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