sustainable buildings

The European Commission has launched the pilot phase of ‘Level(s)’, a new EU- framework for sustainable buildings, aimed at helping transform the building sector

It is the first tool of its kind that has been developed for sustainable buildings use across the whole of Europe.

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: “Level(s) can help us develop an environment built sustainably across Europe and support our transition to the circular economy. We are releasing this framework for the sector during World Green Building Week demonstrating Europe’s global leadership. It marks an important step towards a more resource-efficient and competitive construction sector in Europe.”

Level(s) is the culmination of a broad consultation with industry and the public sector, and focuses on sustainable buildings performance indicators across areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource and water efficiency as well as health and comfort. It aims to establish a ‘common language’ around what sustainable building means in practice – shifting the debate beyond energy performance.

The test phase for Level(s) is now being launched and will run until 2019. All building projects are invited to learn more about it and pilot the new tool. The European Commission will also provide technical assistance to those applying all or parts of Level(s).

James Drinkwater, Director of the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network, said: “This is a clear signal to the market that sustainable building practice is shifting from niche to norm. Having a common goal to deliver nearly zero-energy buildings across Europe galvanised industry-wide action, and now having a common language around ‘sustainable’ building helps us begin to really transform mainstream practice.”

Level(s) is an open source assessment framework, developed by the Commission in close collaboration with key players like Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Sustainable Building Alliance and Green Building Councils.

Two technical guidance reports have been released to support the pilot phase. The first technical report provides an introduction to Level(s) and how it works. The second technical report provides detailed guidance on how to make performance assessments using Level(s). The Commission will host a pilot workshop for organisations interested in testing Level(s) in Brussels, Belgium, on 4 December.

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