Improving sustainable building standards across Europe

The ViSiBLE project made knowledge and experiences on sustainable construction more accessible in order to strengthen CESBA, the Common European Sustainable Building Assessment.

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" CESBA is a common initiative towards promoting a harmonisation of sustainable building assessments for public buildings throughout Europe. This transnational harmonisation is an important building block to meet the EU target for all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by 2020. "

Robert Moosbrugger, project manager

CESBA is an initiative to promote harmonised and sustainable building criteria for public buildings in Europe. The project assured that CESBA was established across the European continent in order to disseminate the principles and philosophies of sustainable building practices.

A series of transnational workshops and discussions were carried out to define the CESBA Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These indicators are the basis for a harmonised sustainable building assessment that makes the sustainability performance of buildings comparable across European countries and regions.

ERDF-funded ViSiBLE studied 20 projects and promoted a vision of sustainable construction based on its analysis. Based on the analysis Project ViSiBLE developed a Policy Paper for Sustainable Building Assessment in Europe. The paper was presented to the relevant Directorates-General of the European Commission and was discussed in international meetings such as the Sustainable Building Conference in Barcelona.

Benefits for the EU

Disadvantaged regions of Europe traditionally have limited experience with sustainable building design. These areas have benefited from the comprehensive material on the subject established under the project. ViSiBLE also created a sense of cohesion between various countries in the EU, as interested stakeholders from across Europe participated in the discussion.

A dedicated CESBA Wikipedia page ( is now available that details 55 selected outputs from the 20 projects plus a wealth of other articles related to sustainable building assessment. The material takes into account the entire lifecycle of the building and considers the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable construction.

New constructions

Seven buildings in seven Member States have been constructed following CESBA’s nine principles[1]. These buildings are open to the public to educate visitors about sustainable construction.

The holistic and harmonised building approach used throughout the project took into consideration social, economic and environmental elements. On both organisational and community levels, CESBA and ViSiBLE used innovative approaches to improve urban areas across Europe. The main outcome of the construction projects is an increased awareness of building experts on the benefits of harmonised sustainable building assessment.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Alpine Space Programme” was EUR 494 700, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 375 972 from the Operational Programme “Alpine Space” for the 2007-2013 programming period.

[1] The user first; Sustainability; Regional contextualisation; Comparability; Mass orientation; Simple to use; Open Source; Transparency; Co-creation

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