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The current Commission proposal does not go far enough in addressing operational and embodied carbon emissions on building lifecycle global warming potential (lifecycle-GWP), often referred to as Whole Life Carbon (WLC). Deploying WLC measures in the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) recast will be a win-win for energy performance and climate action at the building and industry level. Therefore, a stepwise approach and a clear timeline that go beyond 2030 needs to be set out in the EPBD recast.

Read the policy brief here. 

2022-08-30 | Sheikh Zuhaib

This X-tendo briefing provides recommendations on how to take EPC schemes to the nect level and is targeted at policymakers at EU and Member State level, public authorities and institutions responsible for their design, implementation and management.

2022-07-15 | Ryan Colker, Diana Fisler, Lucas Toffoli, Alyssa Watson
Advanced Building Construction Collaborative

The highly fragmented current building code landscape and regulatory barriers hinder the adoption and scaling of advanced building construction practices, including off-site construction. In 2021, the International Code Council (ICC) and Modular Building Institute (MBI) created Standards 1200 and 1205 to reduce complexity of codes and improve code implementation and enforcement on off-site construction, off-site manufacturers, contractors, and officials who need clearer compliance pathways.  

This brief focuses on problems in the current code reality and details how these new standards can address barriers to more efficient, off-site construction that can support lower-carbon buildings. The work incorporates valuable elements and insights from members of the ABC Collaborative Working Group on Codes, Standards, Permitting, Testing, and Accreditation. 


The prevailing narrative influencing policymaking at EU level on energy and climate is that this transition will naturally lead to negative social impacts, which need to be managed and mitigated. However, this can and should be questioned. Is it true that the energy transition and, more specifically, building decarbonisation policies have, by default, negative social impacts? Is it true that the only strategy or solution is to mitigate them?

Alternative narratives, which highlight that there are both negative and positive implications from building decarbonisation measures, should be considered. It should be the goal of good policy design to ensure that positive impacts prevail, and ultimately it is the responsibility of policymakers to achieve this objective. Energy and climate policies, notably in the buildings sector, should aim at maximising positive social impacts and preventing negative ones, then minimising any negative impacts that are unavoidable. This discussion is crucial now, as the EU is reassessing and redesigning the architecture of its energy and climate policy framework, in a context of high energy prices and volatile markets – a context which needs special attention to respond to social impacts.

Download the policy briefing below.

2022-07-01 | Beverley Cornaby and Sanna Markkanen, with support from Eliot Whittington, Serena Liuni and Isabelle Cross
University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The UK is in the midst of dual crises, with a cost-of-living crisis adding to the climate crisis. Both of these crises disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable in society, who also have fewest resources to cope with changing circumstances. It is vital we tackle both crises with the urgency they require. Policy measures to address the cost-of-living crisis can be just as, if not more, effective when designed to align with the UK’s net zero target. An aligned approach to addressing the cost-of-living crisis and decarbonisation challenge could create win–wins for the UK economy.

Read the policy briefing here

2022-06-24 | Hélène Sibileau, Judit Kockat, Sheikh Zuhaib & Oliver Rapf

The newly developed EU Buildings Climate Tracker finds that the EU is facing a growing gap in advancing towards climate neutrality in the sector. This first edition provides evidence for the urgent need for additional action that should be reflected in a transformational outcome of legislative discussions on the EPBD.

The results show that the buildings sector is not on track to achieve climate neutrality in 2050. In 2019, the index has a calculated value of 0.48 on a scale between 0 (reference situation in 2015) and 100 (climate neutrality in 2050), while it should be at 14 points. The Tracker also indicates that building decarbonisation is far from progressing at the speed needed. The achieved progress between 2015 and 2019 was a 0.12 point annual improvement, while it should have been at 3.6 points.

This means that building decarbonisation is off track and much behind the path to climate neutrality by 2050. While the index should have been at 14 points in 2019, it is barely above 0, thus at almost the same level in 2019 as in 2015. Put differently, four years of potential progress towards climate neutrality by 2050 have been lost.

Read more here.


This study shows how improving insulation can reduce energy demand and drastically cut Russian oil and gas imports for heating in buildings. Investing in building renovation can reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating in buildings, reaching 44% in gas savings, save 45% of final energy demand and substantially contribute to securing the EU’s energy needs.

Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE)

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has a direct effect on our health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity. It is therefore an important parameter to include in long-term renovation strategies. The major determinants of IEQ are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylight and acoustic comfort and they all play an important role in ensuring the quality of life and general wellbeing of building occupants.

About 2.2 million Europeans have asthma because of their living conditions and 110 million live in buildings with high concentrations of hazardous pollutants due to inadequate levels of ventilation. Increasing indoor comfort and air quality can reduce illnesses and premature deaths associated with living in cold and damp homes. This in turn reduces pressure on healthcare and social services, with related benefits including fewer days of work missed, shorter hospital stays and improved educational performance.

Since we spend about 90% of our time indoors, it is crucial to ensure suitable levels of IEQ to promote healthy and comfortable indoor environments. Building legislation, and in particular the upcoming long-term renovation strategies (required in the amended EPBD), is a starting point.

BPIE demonstrates in this briefing how the EPBD can be an opportunity to ensure healthy comfortable indoor environments are integrated into national long-term renovation strategies.

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has a direct effect on our health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity. It is therefore an important parameter to include in long-term renovation strategies. The major determinants of IEQ are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylight and acoustic comfort and they all play an important role in ensuring the quality of life and general wellbeing of building occupants.

The EU’s main legislation in this area, the amended Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2018/844), mentions that energy performance requirements defined by governments in all EU countries should optimise health, indoor air quality and comfort levels. The directive doesn’t specify how to achieve satisfactory IEQ and harmonise indoor comfort requirements across Member States, but it provides a great opportunity to integrate IEQ and energy performance.

Now that the directive must be transposed into national legislation (by March 2020), there are great opportunities to increase the importance of IEQ.

EU Member States should ensure they:

- include measures promoting IEQ in long-term renovation strategies

- integrate IEQ in Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

- reform the cost-optimal methodology & include parameters to evaluate the impacts on IEQ

- ensure compliance and quality control measures to help achieve satisfactory IEQ

Read the briefing