A report from the European Commission Joint Research Centre indicates that environmental improvements in residential buildings could result in overall greenhouse gas emission reductions of 7%.
The JRC IMPRO-Building report suggests that such reductions could be achieved without incurring significant costs. By implementing certain environmental improvements in residential buildings, reductions of 360 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year are feasible.
In June 2003, the European Commission adopted the Integrated Product Policy framework to reduce the environmental impacts caused by the life cycle of products and services. This framework prompted the EIPRO study, which found that the food and drink, private transport, and housing sectors accounted for 70 to 80% of the environmental impacts of private consumption, and no less than 60% of consumption expenditure.
The IMPRO-Building report investigated the environmental improvement potential of residential buildings across the EU Member States. It surveyed 72 different building types, including 19 new types, that represented 80% of the residential building stock in the EU. Analysis showed that the importance of energy use became evident both in terms of space heating, and in terms of the actual building process. Energy use and greenhouse gas emission were then used as indicators of the environmental performance of buildings.
In general, the report points out that the current environmental performance of European residential stock is far from the targeted low-energy standards: there is still tremendous potential for improvements across the board. Active promotion and strong stakeholder action to seize this opportunity could result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of 30 to 50% over the next 40 years.
Environmental improvement potentials of residential buildings (IMPRO-Building)’; JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies: http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC46667.pdf
Integrated product policy (Commission website): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ipp
Energy Performance Building Directive: http://www.managenergy.net/products/R210.htm
Related information on the ETAP Website:
Construction stories: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecoap/about-eco-innovation/good-practices/index_en.htm
Second ETAP Forum on Markets for Sustainable Construction (Brussels, 11 June 2007): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/ecoinnovation2007/index.htm
In November 2008, the Commission proposed to recast the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC) as part of its second strategic energy review. The intention is to achieve EU's energy savings targets and to combat climate change whilst contributing to energy security. At the same time, this will boost sustainable investments and job creation, often in SMEs, across Europe. The estimated impact of the recast is energy savings of 60 to 80 Mtoe in 2020, with total EU energy consumption reduced by 5 to 6%.
‘Energy efficient buildings save money: Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’ (Commission press release):