Product, Service & Design Innovation
EU Launches Tool to Embed Circularity, Sustainability into Built Environment

The European Commission has launched the pilot of a new framework for sustainable buildings in partnership the World Green Building Council.

Developed as an EU-wide framework of core sustainability indicators for office and residential buildings, Level(s), an Assessment Framework Aiming to Transform the Building Sector provides a set of indicators and common metrics for measuring the environmental performance of buildings throughout their life cycle. Beyond measuring environmental performance, Level(s) enables the measurement of other related aspects of building performance, including health and comfort, life cycle cost and potential future risks to performance.

In particular, the indicators focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions along a building’s life cycle, optimizing building design by ensuring resource efficiency and circular material life cycles, the efficient use of water resources, creating healthy and comfortable spaces, adaptation and resilience to climate change and optimization of life cycle cost and value of buildings.

“Levels is a key development to help grow the green building market in Europe. We strongly believe it forms the foundations of a new ‘common language’ for all European green building professionals, which the market must now adopt to help shift standard practice towards ‘better practice.’ Over time our hope is that ‘best practice’ certification becomes a reality for many more projects,” said James Drinkwater, Director of World Green Building Council’s European Regional Network.

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The open source assessment framework was developed over a period of two years in consultation with Sustainable Building Alliance, BASF, Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Stora Enso and key public sector players. It is a key tool of the EU’s circular economy package and aims to link an individual building’s impact with the delivery of the SDGs.

Level(s) was developed to promote a circular economy within the building sector, one of the most resource, energy and water intensive industries. One of the main aims of the framework is to streamline sustainability performance assessment for the built environment by establishing a ‘common language’ that works across national boundaries.

The framework’s pilot phase will run for two years until January 2018. During the testing phase, Green Building Councils and ERN partners will develop a strategy to identify activities that GBCs can undertake across their priority areas to support implementation.

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