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Towards additional policies to improve the environmental performance of buildings

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This report supports EU policymaking on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the area of buildings, which were indentified as being particularly relevant for environmental improvements. While the objective of SCP policies is to address all the different types of environmental impacts in a balanced way, previous research has shown that the energy consumption during the use phase of the buildings is by far the most important factor to take into account for the life cycle environmental impacts of buildings. Moreover, residential buildings are responsible for 27 % of final energy demand in the EU. The report reviews the barriers towards energy efficiency and the measures to overcome. It then compiles an overview over existing and planned EU policy instruments dealing with the environmental and energy performance of buildings, building elements and equipment. Finally, barriers, available measures and policy instruments are assessed against each other to find out what more could be done and to assess if there are additional policies to the existing ones that could lead to further improvements.
See also Part 2 of this study (quantitative assessment) at It presents the quantitative assessment of the possible environmental and socio-economic effects for two types of measures addressing the energy efficiency of building elements: 1) requiring high thermal insulation levels when individual building elements have to be renovated, and 2) accelerating the retrofitting of individual building elements according to high energy efficiency standards. The results of the modelling show that such policies could deliver further savings of energy and greenhouse gas emissions and that the socio-economic benefits would outweigh the costs.