Sustainable building practice in Europe has to a large extent been led by green building certification schemes to date. These certifications cover hundreds of millions of m2 of building space and have achieved a high degree of market penetration in the non-residential sector of some European countries.
However, sustainability assessment within Europe’s construction sector as a whole is far from widespread. Moreover, whole life cycle assessment is not a core part of all certification schemes, and mainstreaming it is a crucial environmental challenge for the sector.
Many countries recognize the need for a joined up European approach to how policy shapes a sustainable built environment. Many more countries and industry actors are looking for guidance on the future trajectory for the sector on sustainability.
In this sense, Level(s) represents the European consensus today on the common core aspects of sustainable buildings, bringing a focus to key aspects of environmental performance beyond energy consumption during the use phase of buildings.
Since the European Commission officially opened the two-year testing phase for Level(s) in 2018, 136 building projects have registered to test Level(s) in 21 countries. Of the projects testing Level(s), 74 are residential and 62 are non-residential. This provides important balance in terms of the community shaping Level(s). The aim of the testing phase is to support stakeholders across the construction and real estate value chain, from investors, to developers, designers and manufacturers; in testing the Level(s) indicators on their building projects. The feedback from the testing phase will inform the final version of the Level(s) framework - to be launched in spring 2020. Level(s) aims to take life cycle thinking mainstream, to build the data the sector needs to move forwards on this important agenda.