The European Parliament is preparing an own-initiative report on resource efficiency and the circular economy. Given the substantial potential of Europe’s building stock, PU Europe welcomes the fact that the construction sector occupies a prominent place in the draft document.
Oliver Loebel, Managing Director of PU Europe commented: “Priorities should be set according to the impact of each building life cycle stage on resource efficiency. With the building use-phase clearly putting a biggest strain on our resources, policy measures should focus on reducing the energy and water consumption of buildings through ambitious national renovation programmes.”
Furthermore, a life cycle approach should be applied to resource use in the building fabric (embodied impacts). Assessment tools were developed by the European standardisation body CEN based on a Commission mandate. Their use should be promoted across the continent.
A thorough analysis will show that increased resource use in the building fabric can lead to drastic reductions in resources consumed during the building use phase thanks to avoided heat losses and the generation of renewable energy on-site. As to construction and demolition waste, several end-of-life options should be supported in order to divert waste from landfill. These options must include energy recovery as recommended in the proposed EU Energy Union package.
“Construction products may have a service life of 50 to 100 years. It is impossible to fix a one-size-fits-all solution for such heterogeneous and sometimes difficult-to-identify waste streams. Several waste options including recycling and material or energy recovery should be promoted," Loebel concluded.
The PU Europe position on the European Parliament’s Draft Report on Resource Efficiency: Moving Towards a Circular Economy is available here