Green Building Councileiden Eurooppa-verkoston Senior Policy Advisor James Drinkwater kirjoittaa blogissaan kestävän rakentamisen EU-tason ohjauksesta. Drinkwaterin mukaan nyt on korkea aika ottaa osaa tulevien säännösten ja ohjauksen valmisteluun, sillä Euroopan komission uusi kuulemisprosessi antaa siihen erinomaisen mahdollisuuden.
Euroopan komissio julkaisi kuun alussa kaksivuotisen menettelyprosessin, jonka tarkoituksena on määritellä tulevan vuosikymmenen osalta suuntaviivoja kestävälle rakentamiselle. Aloitteen lopullisena tavoitteena on johtaa kiinteistö- ja rakentamisalaa kohti kestävämpää tulevaisuutta. Sen keskiössä ovat etenkin kestävän kehityksen mukaisten rakennusten määritteleminen yhteisten tunnuslukujen avulla ja toimivien markkinoiden luominen kierrätetyille rakennustuotteille.
Green Building Council Finland on osallistunut hankkeen sidosryhmätapaamisiin ja ollut muutenkin aktiivinen molempien toimenpiteiden osalta, sillä Suomessa on laajassa yhteistyössä alan kanssa kehitetty rakennusten kestävyyttä kuvaavat Rakennusten elinkaarimittarit. Lisäksi GBC Finland on mukana muiden pohjoismaisten Green Building Councileiden kanssa yhteistyössä toteutettavassa hankkeessa, jossa luodaan pohjoismainen määritelmä kestäville rakennusmateriaaleille. Suomen roolina on osallistua etenkin rakennusmateriaalien kierrätykseen liittyvien asioiden kehittämiseen.
Lue James Drinkwaterin kirjoitus aiheesta alla.
Lisätietoja Green Building Councileiden Eurooppa-verkoston toimista EU-tason sääntelyyn liittyen läydät täältä: http://www.worldgbc.org/regions/europe/policy/building-sustainability-assessment/
Brussels needs you! Your chance to mainstream better buildings in Europe
The world of EU level policy-making seems a pretty obscure one when viewed from the outside, but it’s actually a wonderfully transparent one in reality, as you’ll discover if you ever get involved. The problem is that such policy-making often has a long lag-time and seems rather distant, so we tend to dismiss it as ‘that thing that happens in Brussels’, and then all of a sudden it’s here.
Earlier this month, a two year consultation process which is set to define mainstream dialogue on sustainable buildings for the next decade launched from offices on the outskirts of Brussels. ‘What?’ I hear you say. The question should rather be ‘How do we get involved?’ I would suggest. In the next few minutes I hope to tell you.
The concept of ‘nearly zero-energy buildings’ started off as one of those Brussels meeting room conversations some years ago. Now the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires that all new public sector buildings across Europe have to meet this standard in under four years’ time, expanding to all buildings in less than six years. Some of us wish the concept had been better cooked before becoming EU law, but that opportunity has passed and we’re left with the consequences.
Happily then, this particular moment in time represents an opportunity to perfect the recipe and taste test the dish before the EU makes further moves towards policy to promote sustainable building practices. If we get it just right, this could represent a watershed moment for European green building advocates.
The catchily-titled ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee of the Regions on Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the Building Sector’ forms part of the Commission’s ‘Circular Economy Package’. It sets out the European Commission’s next steps to help green the sector, which fall under the two following headings:
1. EU Framework for Building Assessment
The first action is a two year stakeholder process to agree an ‘EU framework’ of core performance indicators, and associated methodologies, for assessing the sustainability of buildings. This will run from 2014 to 2016, and the result is intended to address both new and existing buildings, both residential and non-residential (excluding industrial buildings). It will most likely be a voluntary instrument when agreed, but importantly once test run, it may become the foundation of future public policy at both national and/or EU level.
Performance indicators being considered for inclusion include total energy use (including embodied), material use, durability, design for deconstruction, management of waste, recycled content, recyclability/reusability, water use, use intensity and indoor comfort.
Indoor comfort is a pleasing inclusion, as this work is being done under the EU’s flagship initiative ‘Resource Efficient Europe’, and so goes beyond its original resource efficiency scope. This responds to calls from the Europe Regional Network and others which highlighted that any initiative focusing entirely on resource efficiency risks failure in terms of driving demand in the market. Social performance indicators such as health and wellbeing are gaining in prominence, and whilst assessment methodologies in this area are less well developed than in others, the consideration of these user focused aspects in the framework will be critical.
A key thing to emphasise here is that this framework does not intend to be another BREEAM, DGNB, HQE or LEED, nor does it intend to be as robust and holistic in approach as these green building certification tools. An earlier EU ‘Ecolabel for Office Buildings’ project which intended to duplicate the work these building certification tools were already doing was previously discontinued given its added value was called into question.
With this new initiative, the intention is rather to learn from the work that market leaders have been doing, and provide a simple framework that will encourage the mainstream market to move towards better practice (not best). The framework may be used on its own, particularly in countries where more sophisticated tools are not seeing increased take-up, or integrated within existing rating tools to help build up a larger, comparable data set on building performance across the region.
During the Commission’s public consultation on sustainable buildings in 2013, the Europe Regional Network advocated the need for an EU framework, and emphasised the importance of not reinventing the wheel. A lot of work on this concept has already been done by the likes of SBAlliance and CEN TC/350, as well as EU funded projects such as SuPerBuildings and OpenHouse.
Luckily then, we aren’t starting from scratch, but there is definitely a need to ensure people can access and understand the often very technical work already done so we can build upon it in the process ahead. Of course, one of the most important goals the framework seeks to achieve is to create a common European understanding and dialogue about sustainable buildings, which moves beyond the current narrow focus on energy efficiency and renewables driven by existing EU law on energy in buildings.
2. Towards a Better Functioning Market for Recycled Construction Materials
The second part of the Communication is devoted to end of life issues and proposals to create a better functioning market for recycled construction materials. This is against the backdrop of the Commission’s recently proposed Circular Economy Package, which aims to phase out landfilling in Europe.
Actions intended to be taken here include the promotion of best practice and measures that divert construction and demolition waste from landfilling and backfilling, either through increased charges or regulatory measures. The Commission will also be looking at appropriate ways to integrate external environmental costs in the price of virgin materials for construction products, in order to stimulate increased use of secondary raw materials.
In addition, specific tools and guidelines for the assessment of buildings prior to demolition and renovation are planned for development, with a view to optimise use of construction and demolition waste. A new era in green building rating tools for the end of life stage could be ahead of us, to help close the loop.
How to Get Involved
CEOs from Green Building Councils in 17 countries and Commission officials met in Brussels in late May, ahead of the publication of the Communication, to begin exploring what the EU framework might look like. At the end of June we held the first of a series of interactive stakeholder workshops in Prague to get national experts’ views on their market needs, the design of the framework and how it will be deployed.
The Europe Regional Network of WorldGBC will be hosting a number of workshops for GBC members and stakeholders across the region over Q3/Q4 of 2014, to gather views on the design of the EU framework. Contact email@example.com or your local GBC for further details of workshops in your area. We’d love you to get involved, to ensure that the future policy that is built on these foundations is right for the market, and helps us make real progress towards mainstreaming sustainable building practice.[hr]
Senior Policy Advisor
World Green Building Council, Europe Regional Network