Bellona encouraged by EU's directive for embodied carbon of buildings

Bellona encouraged by EU's directive for embodied carbon of buildings
15 March 2023

Climate and sustainability foundation, Bellona, says it is encouraging to see the EU take decisive action on the built environment and embodied carbon following the European Parliament’s passing of its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) recast.  

This legislation addresses embodied carbon and whole-life greenhouse gas emissions (both embodied and operational emissions). Until now, embodied carbon has remained largely ignored in the EU and the building sector’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. With this EPBD recast, this is set to change, said Bellona.

“This EPBD vote ensures several positive steps forward for decarbonising buildings, of which two are especially welcome to us. It will establish a harmonised framework for addressing and measuring whole-life carbon, and it will set targets for embodied carbon reduction” said Bellona Europa’s policy analyst, Irene Domínguez. 

According to the European Commission, buildings account for approximately 40 per cent of the EU’s total energy consumption and 36 per cent of its CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, three out of four buildings in the EU are still energy inefficient. The EPBD recast represents a comprehensive action plan to renovate the EU’s buildings, bring down energy consumption, reduce building-related emissions and reach a climate-neutral European building stock by 2050. Embodied carbon is estimated to account for 10-25 per cent of the total carbon footprint of buildings. Heavy industries such as cement and steel production account for a large portion of these emissions associated with the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings.

The EPBD recast sets out a requirement to both calculate and establish targets to reduce building-related emissions throughout the building’s life-cycle. Each member state now has to develop national building renovation plans, including renovation targets suited to each country’s building stock and needs, and illustrate how these national targets are to be met. It is expected that this legislation will help trigger a scale-up of the production and use of low-carbon construction materials. "In this sense, it is also important for the EPBD to be aligned with the ongoing recast of the Construction products Regulation (CPR)," claims Bellona. 

Published under Cement News