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ACE study on the Role of Architecture in Building Performance as Defined by the EU Level(s) Scheme

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The EU Commission has been developing Level(s) - a framework of macro-objectives and indicators aiming to help building professionals to report on the environmental performance of buildings. As well as energy and material impacts, Level(s) provides a framework for reporting the quality of the indoor environment achieved with these resources, including air quality, thermal comfort, climate change resilience and life cycle cost/value.


The Architects’ Council of Europe has been an active contributor to the work of the DG Environment Steering Committee during the development of Level(s) and ACE Member Organisations have been involved in the testing phase of the scheme.


The Architects’ Council of Europe commissioned a study, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme, in order to better understand the usefulness and possible impacts of this new scheme on the quality and sustainability of the built environment. In particular, the study looks at the following questions:

- How to use Level(s) metrics to help balance the often conflicting drivers for sustainable architecture and tackle impact hotspots across a building’s life span?

- What is the potential of Level(s) to support sustainable architectural quality?

- What is the first feedback from pilots?

- What amendments are needed to achieve a broader uptake?


The present study aims to contribute to the testing phase of Level(s) by mapping out the barriers encountered by architects in getting data to carry out a Level(s) assessment and in interpreting them correctly as part of the architectural design process.


The study is based on interviews with professionals who are either themselves involved in the pilots or are coordinating several pilots from three countries (UK, DE, DK) identified by the ACE. The purpose of the report is to summarise a holistic, architectural perspective of Level(s) and its potential to improve sustainable architectural quality in buildings. It is envisaged that this report will provide the basis for future research on this topic.

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