Europe Regional Network Calls for Market Transformation

The Europe Regional Network of WorldGBC has today responded to the European Commission’s consultation on EU sustainable buildings policy, outlining the central building blocks required for market transformation.

The current consultation forms part of the European Commission’s resource efficiency work under its ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’, and aims to move the EU building sector beyond energy efficiency, towards a high degree of resource efficiency and a ‘life-cycle approach’ by 2020.

The European Commission’s current initiative on sustainable buildings represents an important challenge for Europe’s building sector” said the Network’s Senior Policy Advisor, James Drinkwater. “We know from reports like this year’s ‘Global Green Building Trends’ that the market for sustainable buildings has gone global, and it’s growing fast. Ensuring that the right long-term policy and incentives are in place to drive market transformation across the EU will be key to ensuring European companies stay competitive in the global green building market.”    

Key policy recommendations put forward in the Network’s response include:

  • Environmental Product Declarations based on EN15804 should eventually be mandated across the EU through a ‘phase-in’ approach.
  • An EU framework of common indicators and calculation methodologies for the lifecycle performance of sustainable buildings should be agreed, based on the work of CEN/TC 350 and other relevant initiatives.
  • A concerted regional information campaign, aimed at both industry and the public, should accompany these new indicators, to evidence and educate on the benefits of performance improvements.
  • Mandatory EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria based on the agreed EU framework should be introduced, so the public sector leads the market.
  • A period of data collection, benchmarking and incentivising through financial and fiscal incentives will be needed to further understand and drive higher building performance.
  • Over the longer-term, the Commission should assess the feasibility of introducing a basic EU labelling scheme for residential buildings, examining performance across certain key indicators from the EU framework. 

In relation to the resource efficiency focus of the consultation, the Network’s response stresses that ‘it is crucial that economic and social performance issues are considered’, and points out that ‘any initiative which focuses solely on resource efficiency risks failure in terms of driving demand in the market.’  

As reports like WorldGBC’s ‘The Business Case for Green Buildings’ have demonstrated, there is a compelling business case for more sustainable buildings” said the Network’s Policy Task Force chair, Jo Wheeler.  “Importantly we know that a large part of the business case lies in issues beyond improved environmental performance. With mounting evidence of significant health and productivity gains for building occupiers from factors such as good indoor air quality, daylight and acoustic quality, it’s clear that we must look beyond resource efficiency if we want to transform the market towards more sustainable buildings.”    

View the full response here. Please email the Europe Regional Network for further information.

About the Europe Regional Network

Green Building Councils are not-for-profit, member-based organisations that are driving the transformation of buildings, communities and users’ behaviour towards sustainability. The World Green Building Council is a coalition of over 90 national Green Building Councils around the world, making it the largest international organisation influencing the Green Building marketplace.

Our Europe Regional Network consists of over 30 national Green Building Councils and works in collaboration with more than 3,500 member companies across Europe, which represent the full breadth of stakeholders in the buildings industry. A crucial part of Green Building is bringing the whole value chain in our industry together to provide better solutions, and this is exactly what we are doing through our members.

The Europe Regional Network of WorldGBC has today responded to the European Commission’s consultation on EU sustainable buildings policy, outlining the central building blocks required for market transformation.

The current consultation forms part of the European Commission’s resource efficiency work under its ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’, and aims to move the EU building sector beyond energy efficiency, towards a high degree of resource efficiency and a ‘life-cycle approach’ by 2020.

The European Commission’s current initiative on sustainable buildings represents an important challenge for Europe’s building sector” said the Network’s Senior Policy Advisor, James Drinkwater. “We know from reports like this year’s ‘Global Green Building Trends’ that the market for sustainable buildings has gone global, and it’s growing fast. Ensuring that the right long-term policy and incentives are in place to drive market transformation across the EU will be key to ensuring European companies stay competitive in the global green building market.”    

Key policy recommendations put forward in the Network’s response include:

  • Environmental Product Declarations based on EN15804 should eventually be mandated across the EU through a ‘phase-in’ approach.
  • An EU framework of common indicators and calculation methodologies for the lifecycle performance of sustainable buildings should be agreed, based on the work of CEN/TC 350 and other relevant initiatives.
  • A concerted regional information campaign, aimed at both industry and the public, should accompany these new indicators, to evidence and educate on the benefits of performance improvements.
  • Mandatory EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria based on the agreed EU framework should be introduced, so the public sector leads the market.
  • A period of data collection, benchmarking and incentivising through financial and fiscal incentives will be needed to further understand and drive higher building performance.
  • Over the longer-term, the Commission should assess the feasibility of introducing a basic EU labelling scheme for residential buildings, examining performance across certain key indicators from the EU framework. 

In relation to the resource efficiency focus of the consultation, the Network’s response stresses that ‘it is crucial that economic and social performance issues are considered’, and points out that ‘any initiative which focuses solely on resource efficiency risks failure in terms of driving demand in the market.’  

As reports like WorldGBC’s ‘The Business Case for Green Buildings’ have demonstrated, there is a compelling business case for more sustainable buildings” said the Network’s Policy Task Force chair, Jo Wheeler.  “Importantly we know that a large part of the business case lies in issues beyond improved environmental performance. With mounting evidence of significant health and productivity gains for building occupiers from factors such as good indoor air quality, daylight and acoustic quality, it’s clear that we must look beyond resource efficiency if we want to transform the market towards more sustainable buildings.”    

View the full response here. Please email the Europe Regional Network for further information.

About the Europe Regional Network

Green Building Councils are not-for-profit, member-based organisations that are driving the transformation of buildings, communities and users’ behaviour towards sustainability. The World Green Building Council is a coalition of over 90 national Green Building Councils around the world, making it the largest international organisation influencing the Green Building marketplace.

Our Europe Regional Network consists of over 30 national Green Building Councils and works in collaboration with more than 3,500 member companies across Europe, which represent the full breadth of stakeholders in the buildings industry. A crucial part of Green Building is bringing the whole value chain in our industry together to provide better solutions, and this is exactly what we are doing through our members.