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Roadmap to climate-proof buildings and construction – How to embed whole-life carbon in the EPBD
Author: Zsolt Toth, Jonathan Volt, Sibyl Steuwer
Region of Activities: Europe
Type: Report
Subject: New buildings
Origin: BPIE

Background: Climate change action is time critical. There is an immediate need to focus policy and market actions on emission reductions across the entire life cycle of buildings as these are very quickly using up the remaining carbon budget left before the tipping point of an irreversible climate crisis. This provides a compelling reason for policymakers to address all sources of carbon emissions from the buildings and construction sector, including both embodied and operational carbon – together referred to as “whole-life” carbon (WLC) emissions. Reducing embodied emissions is a global challenge that offers significant carbon reduction potential. Some countries in Europe (one of the leading regions addressing this challenge) have introduced policies to reduce whole-life carbon emissions from buildings and construction, with further national and EU-level initiatives expected in the near future. The ongoing review of key policy and legislative files provides a significant opportunity for the EU to begin consistently integrating WLC in the policy framework. About this roadmap: This roadmap for integrating WLC in the policy framework primarily focuses on the pending review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) but also makes links to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The cornerstones of how to fully decarbonise the European Union’s building stock along its entire lifecycle must be laid now. Member States but also private actors need guidance and security to direct investments and set the framework to steer the required actions and trigger innovation. Considering the next revision is only planned by end of 2027, the time to get this right is now. BPIE's new roadmap sets out the necessary steps to introduce WLC considerations and align the provisions of the EPBD with climate-neutrality goals.