The built environment has a significant impact on many sectors of the economy, on local jobs and quality of life. It requires vast amounts of resources and accounts for about 50% of all extracted material. The construction sector is responsible for over 35% of the EU’s total waste generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from material extraction, manufacturing of construction products, as well as construction and renovation of buildings are estimated at 5-12% of total national GHG emissions. Greater material efficiency could save 80% of those emissions.
To increase material efficiency and reduce climate impact, we are launching a comprehensive new strategy for a sustainable built environment based on learnt lessons. This strategy will ensure coherence across relevant policy areas such as climate, energy and resource efficiency, management of construction and demolition waste, accessibility, digitalisation and skills. It will promote circularity principles throughout the lifecycle of buildings by
- addressing construction products' sustainability in line with the Construction Product Regulation's revision, including potential recycled content requirements for certain construction products
- promoting the durability and adaptability of built assets in line with the circular economy principles for buildings design
- developing digital logbooks for buildings
- using level(s) to integrate life cycle assessment in public procurement and the EU sustainable finance framework as well as to explore potential carbon reduction targets and carbon storage
- considering a revision of material recovery targets set in EU legislation for construction and demolition waste
- promoting initiatives to reduce soil sealing, rehabilitate abandoned or contaminated brownfields and increase the safe, sustainable and circular use of excavated soils
Furthermore, the green deal's ‘renovation wave’ initiative can lead to significant improvements in energy efficiency in the EU. We will implement the initiative in line with circular economy principles, notably optimised lifecycle performance, and longer life expectancy of built assets. As part of revising the recovery targets for construction and demolition waste, we will pay special attention to insulation materials, which generate a growing waste stream.