New EU Policy Roadmap charts a path towards a decarbonised buildings and construction sector
25 May 2022
This week, the World Green Building Council – a global action network of over 70 Green Building Councils – launched a policy roadmap that details how the European Union can accelerate decarbonisation of the buildings and construction sector, which is one of the most heavy-emitting sectors. The roadmap covers four key areas: building regulations, waste and circularity, sustainable procurement, and sustainable finance.
The full roadmap was developed with support from over 35 organisations. It is the first of its kind, in that it covers the whole EU, and addresses the whole life carbon impact of buildings and construction across a number of policy areas. The roadmap’s recommendations were developed with input from major business networks and industry associations, as well as environmental NGOs and city networks. Mapped out from now to 2050, they include milestones on how key EU policies and regulations affecting the building and construction sector should be tightened over time.
The roadmap proposes a timeline of recommended actions for EU policymakers to accelerate the decarbonisation of buildings by 2050, tackling both CO2 emissions from their operation, and the long-overlooked impact of emissions from materials and construction. It has further guidance on how EU, national and regional policy makers can align in what they ask of industry, encouraging a multi-level governance approach. Finally, to ensure effective collaboration with the private sector, the roadmap also spells out ways that companies can support the implementation of the roadmap.
Much of Europe’s building stock is old and inefficient and the European Commission has acknowledged that renovation rates must at least double. WorldGBC’s roadmap highlights the urgent need for more ambitious policy and financial support to enable energy efficient property upgrades.
Alongside this, buildings are still being constructed using carbon-intensive materials and processes, which sustains the high embodied carbon impact of the sector. That’s why the roadmap makes a series of recommendations on how EU policy can enforce the calculation and regulation of emissions across the whole life cycle of a building, as well as measures that will improve the circularity of building materials.