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2023-07-31 | Metabolic

How does the large-scale application of biobased construction materials impact our forests? Are we not shifting the burden to another planetary boundary if we focus on the reduction of carbon emissions?

This report from Metabolic is a first step in a longer-term exploration to create clarity on these important issues.

This report delves into the current environmental impact of the construction sector in the EU27+UK; the potential scenarios to reduce the impact of the sector by applying timber alternatives to carbon-intensive materials; the implications that this increased demand for timber has on European forests, and what systemic barriers need to be taken into consideration during the planning and development processes.

Please read the full report here.

2023-10-25 | International Finance Corporation (IFC)
International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Construction value chains, encompassing the construction and operation of buildings as well as the production of construction materials like cement and steel, contribute to approximately 40 percent of global CO2 emissions. This figure is expected to rise as developing economies, responsible for about two-thirds of these emissions, intensify construction activities for urbanization and development.

IFC is launching this report to guide international efforts to decarbonize construction value chains. Building Green: Sustainable Construction in Emerging Markets was prepared through close collaboration between IFC economists, investment officers, and building and construction sector specialists. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges of reducing carbon emissions from construction value chains in developing countries, but also the considerable opportunities that will come from mobilizing the estimated $1.5 trillion of investment required for this transition.

The report also offers important recommendations on financial instruments, technical assistance, standards, technologies, and capacity building to channel more financing into green buildings and materials and address the market failures hampering further progress on building green. IFC's own green buildings program and sustainability-linked finance facilities offer proven models on how such initiatives can be accomplished at scale.

Read the full report here.

2023-10-05 | Andreas Beavor, UrbanEmerge; Samia Khan, UrbanEmerge; Dr Naji Makarem, UrbanEmerge; Benneth Obinna Obasiohia, UrbanEmerge; Nnanna Joemartins Oketa, UrbanEmerge; Pedro de Aragão Fernandes, Climate Policy Initiative
The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance

This report is part of a three-part series led by CCFLA to promote an understanding of financing barriers to net zero carbon buildingsThis paper particularly focuses on Nigeria and assesses the current use of financial and policy instruments, and identifies how national, state, and local policy and regulatory frameworks can be improved to drive private and public investment in this sector. This report evaluates the current use of financial and policy instruments to identify ways to strengthen national, state, and municipal policy and regulatory frameworks to encourage private and public investment in this area.

The policy environment in Nigeria for net zero-carbon buildings is fragmented. While there is no overarching strategy or policy on net zero-carbon buildings, several relevant elements can be found in a variety of legislation.

While the 2017 National Building Energy Efficiency Code (BEEC) establishes minimum efficiency requirements for new structures, the 2021 National Climate Change Policy gives policy guidelines on building energy efficiency retrofitting.

Please read the full report here.

2023-05-23 | United Nations Economic Commission for Europe(UNECE)
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe(UNECE)

When it comes to sustainability and circularity, wood as a natural raw material has several advantages over other building materials. As a bio-based resource, it has considerable benefits concerning greenhouse gas emissions, carbon-storing, thermal insulation as well as human health and well-being compared to other construction materials. New types of wood products, being the result of extensive research, enable the extensive use of wood in tall buildings. At the same time, innovative wood products provide less manufacturing waste, low carbon-emission alternatives and store massive quantities of carbon while new technologies speed construction processes, promote energy efficiency and minimize waste.

This study examines the benefits of wood as a construction material and discusses practices applied in the wood construction sector from the perspective of circularity, sustainability and climate change mitigation. It analyses how circularity concepts can be applied in the construction industry using different construction methods and at different stages of value chains. The study describes how different construction techniques and practices contribute to the renewal and sustainability of construction value chains. The analysis is supported by examples of good practice in UNECE member States.

Please read the full report here.

2023-09-11 | Local Governments for Sustainability(ICLEI)
Local Governments for Sustainability(ICLEI)

This resource delves into the circular initiatives and tools adopted by cities such as Apeldoorn (the Netherlands), Bodø (Norway), Mikkeli (Finland), Seville (Spain), Høje-Taastrup, and Roskilde (Denmark) over their four-year participation in the CityLoops project, coordinated by ICLEI and funded by the EU. The handbook provides a comprehensive, step-by-step overview for other cities and regions on how to replicate these initiatives within their own unique contexts.

This handbook also places these activities in the broader context of the European circular transition, underscoring that circular construction is gaining traction across Europe. However, it emphasizes that the construction sector is just beginning its circular transition, despite being one of the most economically and environmentally resource-intensive sectors. It accounts for approximately half of all material extraction, half of energy consumption, a third of water consumption, and 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

By transforming the unsustainable linear approach of "take-make-dispose", the implementation of circular economies can mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the construction sector while preserving and enhancing economic value. The handbook showcases practical examples of how cities put these tools into practice, the rationale behind their decisions, potential improvements, and how these efforts align with broader European circular strategies and policies.

Download the handbook

2023-09-20 | European Labour Authority(ELA)
European Labour Authority(ELA)

ELA published today a report concerning information provision, enforcement, social security coordination and cooperation between Member States in relation to posting of workers in the construction sector. The study, which findings are presented in the report, was conducted between October 2022 and May 2023.

The study shows that the most prevalent violations and abusive practices include the establishment of letterbox companies, non-compliance with working conditions, bogus self-employment, fraudulent PD A1 (Portable Document A1) usage and fraudulent posting of third country nationals. Labour inspectorates can inspect and sanction these violations and abusive practices, but they often lack sufficient financial and staff resources, and experience difficulties in identifying some factual elements in such posting contexts (e.g. place of registration of undertakings, number of contracts performed, whether or not the posted workers return to or are expected to resume working in the sending Member State) to properly carry out their inspection activities. Furthermore, imposition of sanctions and their effective implementation can be difficult in a cross-border situation.

The report identified several measures that could prevent non-compliance with the rules. These include the provision of social ID cards to posted workers, subcontracting chain liability schemes to make it possible to identify the actors in those chains, limitations on subcontracting and specific public procurement rules.

Please find more information here.

| Bauhaus Earth; Toni Piëch Foundation
Bauhaus Earth


Bauhaus Earth is collaborating with the Toni Piëch Foundation to develop the multi-series knowledge collection 'Building for the Future'. Developed as a modular system, the collection will provide visually appealing and easily digestible information to introduce people to the idea of a regenerative built environment. It will provide an overview of key developments, concepts, and options for action. The first series, 'Setting the Frame', highlights critical facts and figures about the built environment as a major contributor to the climate crisis. It also highlights the vision of a regenerative built environment and presents practical ideas and approaches. The second series will focus specifically on the scale of regenerative buildings, highlighting the use of bio-based materials and how to extend the life cycle of building materials and components, as well as the importance of sufficiency strategies.

The first Series "Setting the Frame" highlights critical facts and figures about the built environment as a major contributor to the climate crisis. It also highlights the vision of a regenerative built environment and presents practical ideas and approaches. The second series “Regenerative Buildings” will focus specifically on the scale of regenerative buildings, emphasizing the use of bio-based materials and how to extend the life cycle of building materials and components.

2023-07-14 | Centre for Science and Environment
Centre for Science and Environment

The Cooling Web is a guidance document and a compilation of case studies that bring out a range of cooling solutions that are diverse and comprehensive and do not rely on conventional energy-guzzling practices. This involves measures to enhance microclimate, thoughtful designs for building envelopes, judicious selection of material, and context-specific cooling approaches.

India is witnessing rising frequency and intensity of heat waves. This is making our cities sear and pushing the built environment community to rethink how to plan and design buildings and cities. This momentum is strongly linked with the India Cooling Action Plan 2019 and its very important goal of thermal comfort for all. The Union government and a few state governments are taking strides to achieve this goal by developing thermal comfort standards and action plans, adopting energy conservation building codes, and other initiatives like cool roof programmes. However, the degree of success lies in the scaled-up implementation of cooling strategies.

The 10 case studies in the volume 1 carefully selected from across the country—with five deep dives—highlight how thermal comfort can be achieved by a combination of passive and active cooling measures. This approach reduces cooling energy demand tremendously and addresses cooling equity. These solutions blend traditional wisdom on passive design with modern techniques and provide optimized solutions so that energy consumption is minimized. These solutions are also a guide toward achieving a rational and climate-appropriate cooling ecosystem that not only ensures resource efficiency but also maintains thermal comfort for building occupants.

Please read the report here.

2023-08-01 | Adam Hinge
IEA EBC Building Energy Codes Working Group

The Building Energy Codes Working Group has released their latest report on Resilience Issues in Building Energy Codes, led by the Australian Government.

The report, authored by Adam Hinge, MD of Sustainable Energy Partnerships and prepared for the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Building Energy Codes Working Group (BECWG), which is part of the IEA Energy in Buildings and Communities Technical Collaboration Programme (IEA EBC), focuses on the application of building energy codes to improve the building stock’s ability to provide safe indoor thermal conditions and function during extreme events. It reviews the relationship of building energy codes to other building resilience policies and strategies, such as other building/life safety codes, community planning, zoning or other land use regulation to discourage rebuilding in areas most prone to climate disasters, and other resilience planning strategies. The report provides an overview of how different jurisdictions address resilience issues through building energy codes in countries that are part of the IEA EBC Building Energy Codes Working Group.

Read the full report here.

2023-09-01 | Tracy Huynh, Chris Magwood, Victor Olgyay, Laurie Kerr, Wes Sullens
Rocky Mountain Institute; U.S. Green Building Council

Embodied carbon contributes to 11% of global annual energy-related emissions. Given the scale of the building industry's environmental impact, it is essential that every stakeholder in this sector prioritizes driving action on embodied carbon.

RMI and U.S. Green Building Council recently published a report to accelerate decarbonization by providing answers to key questions about embodied carbon such as "What should we prioritize to reduce embodied carbon?" or "What does the policy landscape look like for embodied carbon?"

This report stresses that now is the time to take decisive action using the best knowledge we have and, in parallel, to accelerate the sector’s learning curve and achieve rapid market transformation. A major challenge that hinders faster progress is “analysis paralysis.” Stakeholders need access to easily understandable scientific takeaways that cut through the noise and provide guidance on how to take immediate action in the building industry. On the other hand, we also must resist the urge to find a “silver bullet” by relying on a single material or design strategy to cut embodied carbon. We must take a critical eye to the science and find solutions that work, no matter where our leverage lies: in policy, on projects, or in product manufacturing.

The report identifies eleven questions that continue to hold back action on embodied carbon, and answers these questions with concise text and illustrations, providing key takeaways and action items as well as providing in-depth resources to be explored.

please read the report here