CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, participated yesterday in an interesting debate on sustainable housing entitled ‘Towards a European policy for sustainable housing’ held at the European Parliament.
This key event raised many important issues which require urgent attention at European Union level. Of notable importance is the need to take into consideration the whole–life cycle of a structure, rather than the individual products. Taken over a 60-year service life, 90% of CO2 emissions occur during the in-use phase (from heating, cooling & lighting) and 10% result from the embodied energy used to produce the fabric of the building itself – of which the impact of the manufacturing of construction materials is only 2-3%.
This debate has reinforced the key role that the European manufacturing industry will have to play in building sustainable houses and hence the need for competitive and efficient building materials. Security of supply is of strategic importance not only for electricity, but also for building materials, and should be taken into account in all debates, more particularly when considering the risks of carbon leakage, i.e substituting imports to domestic EU production, thereby relocating CO2 emissions.