On 1st of July 2014, the European Commission published its Communication on Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector (COM(2014) 445 final), which is part of its Circular economy package. The main objectives of this Communication are to enhance the use of building materials in more efficient way and to reduce the total environmental impacts throughout the full life-cycle of buildings.
Trinomics was subcontracted by Ecorys to carry out a study together with Copenhagen Resource Institute to gather qualitative and quantitative data that supported the preparation of this Communication. This study uses a life cycle approach to the analysis of the current and future sustainability of the building sector. It provides a concrete basis for the problem formulation and objectives of the Communication, explores the scope of relevant existing policy and initiatives in the area of buildings and construction, identifies potential areas ripe for policy intervention, and describes the processes and outcomes of the public consultation on the selected policy options. The policy solutions and environmental and resource analysis in this study and the ‘Sustainable Buildings’ Communication address the lifecycle environmental impacts of buildings, to complement existing initiatives related to energy consumption during the use phase of the building.
The assessment of the environmental performance of buildings was considered as a practical, achievable and viable avenue to pursue that would both facilitate the improvement of building sustainability and address existing market barriers to enhance business opportunity within the sustainable buildings industry.