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New Europe-wide tool seeks to boost sustainable building

29 Sep 17 The European Commission has launched the pilot phase of a new tool designed to help boost sustainability in the building sector.

Level(s) aims to establish a ‘common language’ around what sustainable building means in practice - shifting the debate beyond energy performance. It is the result of a broad consultation with industry and the public sector, and focuses on performance indicators across areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource and water efficiency as well as health and comfort. Collaborators in the development have included Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Sustainable Building Alliance and Green Building Councils.

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.”

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.”   

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Level(s) is described as the first tool of this kind that has been developed for use across the whole of Europe. The test phase 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 said that it will provide technical assistance to those applying all or parts of Level(s).

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 on 4 December 2017.

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