- A new report by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) introduces basic concepts and key issues related to the integration of whole-life carbon considerations in building policies.
The European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, requiring a fundamental transformation of the Construction and building sectors.
“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,” says Oliver Rapf, Executive Director of BPIE.
Embodied carbon emissions are associated with energy consumption and chemical processes during raw material extraction, manufacture, transportation, assembly, replacement, construction, demolition and disposal of buildings, accounting for approximately 10-20% of EU buildings’ CO2 footprint. To address this ‘hidden’ carbon footprint, BPIE suggests a common European approach to whole-life carbon (WLC) emissions of the building stock, which should yield additional benefits in terms of greater transparency, comparability, and monitoring of progress across borders and industries.
Achieving a common EU approach requires intensified coordination across policy measures addressing and affecting the different stages of the construction value chain. However, 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. The ongoing review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) provides a significant opportunity for the EU to begin consistently integrating WLC thinking and principles in the regulatory framework.
“Whole-life carbon in buildings and construction should be carefully considered now in 2021. Policy action taken by a number of Member States demonstrate that whole-life carbon policies are possible and desirable. The European Commission should reflect this in its forthcoming proposals to make sure that we don’t lose time in the fight against climate change.” Rapf concludes.
Link to the report summary HERE