Press contact:

Jessica Johnson
Press Contact, ECP
Tel.: + 32 2 234 10 11

Positions

ECP News & Positions

 On 6 October 2016, the European Concrete Platform responded to a European Commission consultation on a common framework of core indicators for the environmental performance of buildings.  In its response, the ECP indicated that it would not be appropriate to narrow the life cycle stage boundaries, nor the building component scope, as laid out in existing standards.  Furthermore, in order to provide accurate tracking information, the indicators should cover performance both at design and post-occupantion stages.

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On 30 October 2015, the European Comcrete Platform responded to a European Commission consultation on the evamuation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.  As the representative of the concrete sector, the main issue identified by the ECP with the EPBD is that the contribution of thermal mass – the property of heavyweight materials whereby heat can be stored and released later – is insufficiently accounted for. Thermal mass not only has energy efficiency benefits, but also improves wellbeing and comfort, both in hot and cold climates.

Regarding delays in transposition by MSs, of the recast EPBD 2010/31, this is well documented elsewhere. Apart from that issue, uptake of methodologies for calculating the energy performance of buildings is also very variable across MS. The EPBD 2010/31 (like EPBD 2002/91 before it) states that all Member States shall apply a methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings (Art 3). What the methodology shall consider is laid out in Annex 1 and includes thermal capacity; Insulation; Passive heating; Indoor climate condition etc. Standards have been developed by ISO / CEN to provide this methodology (such as ISO-EN 13790 - being revised and will be called EN ISO 52016-1). However these are not used in all MSs. In some MSs, methodologies used consist of simple U-value calculations, and therefore are not capable of accurately modelling the performance of high performance dwellings which make full use of fabric energy efficiency measures and passive design techniques to minimise energy use. The standard should also be able to calculate indoor temperature in both cold and hot climate and the latent energy needed to avoid excess temperatures. As a consequence, the full benefits of heavyweight construction are not always adequately recognised.

More information: Response

On 20 August 2015, the European Concrete Platform responded to a European Commission consultation on the circular economy. Here the ECP called for circular economy policy which considers the best options for specific sectors rather than a one size fits all approach. For example, in the concrete industry, closed loop recycling may not always afford the best outcome and thus other avenues should also be considered. In order to identify the best option, economic, social and environmental considerations need to be considered. The ECP also encouages policymakers to support life cycle analysis, which will allow for taking decisions on a case-by-case basis.

More information: Response

On 4 May 2015, the European Concrete Platform responded to a questionnaire on adaptation to climate change.  This questionnaire relates to the recently established European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) coordination group on adaptation to climate change (ACC-CG).  The work of the ACC-AG focuses on the three priority sectors identified under the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, namely transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure and buildings/construction.  In this respect, CEN has commissioned consultants Bionova to identify which construction related standards need to be either drafted or revised in order to take into consideration adaptation to climate change.  Bionova has thus produced a questionnaire in order to gather feedback from relevant stakeholders on this issue.  In its response to the questionnaire, the ECP recognises that given the importance of climate change, existing horizontal standards should take this issue into account.  As such, the association highlights the fact that, in the event any changes were to be introduced, the best option would be modify the existing horizontal standards, rather than the product standards themselves. In this respect, the ECP supports building design standards which are rigorous and demanding enough not only for today’s loads, but also for those of tomorrow.


More information: Response

On 27 February 2015, the European Concrete Platform (ECP) provided its contribution to the questionnaire on the green public procurement (GPP) criteria for office buildings currently developing by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. ECP welcomes initiatives aiming at promoting environmentally friendly buildings but it insists on the consistency between approaches proposed by different units of the European Commission. In its comments, ECP suggests that criteria on life-cycle assessment should take into account all life-cycle stages of a building, not just embodied impact. In addition, it highlights the need for a criterion on the responsible sourcing of all materials and calls for a criterion for fire safety in buildings.


More information: Response

At the end of September, the European Concrete Platform (ECP) submitted its response to the European Commission consultation ‘Which materials for sustainable construction?’.  In its response, the ECP indicated that The embodied impact of materials should be considered in conjunction with the environmental performance of the building – there is no point in improving one aspect if it leads to a deterioration of the other. In addition, the three pillars of sustainability (environment, society and economy) should be considered.  For example, improving the living comfort (health, hygiene & aesthetics, indoor air quality, noise reduction): The social pillar of sustainable construction is just as important as the other two pillars (environment and economy), and therefore the aspects also deserve attention.

More information: ConsultationECP response - CEMBUREAU response

What does resource efficiency mean for construction?

The future of the European manufacturing industry is linked to the access to resources in an easy and economical way. That is why “Resource Efficiency” and the “sustainable use of natural resources”, key priorities being tackled at EU level, are important to the concrete industry.

In the case of the construction industry and construction materials, the sustainable use of natural resources can be considered a combination of the following factors:

  • Efficient use of resources throughout the whole life cycle, from extraction and manufacturing, to construction, use, and end of life stages
  • Ensuring the availability of resources for future generations
  • Use of resources in a manner appropriate to the reserves available; scarcity and abundance are critical factors. As a result, sustainability needs to be approached in different ways for different resources
  • When applying the waste hierarchy (prevention, re-use, recycling, recovery, disposal), options which deliver the best overall environmental, social and economic outcomes should be encouraged.  These options must be assessed from a whole life cycle perspective.

Several policy frameworks which deal with resource efficiency and construction and demolition (C&D) waste have been presented and/or are under discussion at EU level.

Concrete’s contribution to a resource-efficient Europe

The most sustainable waste is that which you don’t create. Recycling is usually considered as the solution to waste; however, following the principles of the Waste Hierarchy, “prevention” and “minimisation” of waste are the first choices. The concrete sector applies the principles of the waste hierarchy throughout its value chain: It is manufactured using natural materials which are generally abundant and locally available. It can be recycled 100% at the end of its life. Recycling can be both closed-loop (re-use in the same application) and open-loop (re-use in another application). Both open-loop and closed-loop recycling have benefits in terms of resource efficiency: one is not necessarily better than the other as they both prevent the extraction of virgin raw materials.

Achieving the right policy framework

The European Concrete Platform firmly believes that policies relating to resource efficiency and C&D waste should:

  • Assess the impact of C&D waste from a whole life cycle perspective from the social, economic and environmental points of view
  • Prioritise the collection and treatment of C&D waste by material importance (i.e. whether it is a scarce and/or a hazardous resource), rather than by mass
  • Indicators to assess resource efficiency should take account of both quantity and scarcity, such as the indicator developed by the University of Dundee.
  • In the event financial measures are imposed, funds raised should be used to foster research and achieve an economically viable system in the medium term.
  • Recognise the concrete industry as one which applies the principles of resource efficiency
  • Recognise present and future efforts by the concrete industry in applying the waste hierarchy as an example for other sectors.

These ideas are developed in more detail in the following paper

 

TheConcreteInitiaviveFINAL

Brussels, 27 May 2014: Today, the European concrete sector gathered in Brussels to launch The Concrete Initiative.  Bringing together key stakeholders at EU level, the launch centered around a high level debate on sustainable construction.

Concrete and construction – an engine for growth

This initiative comes at a key time for Europe. Growth and jobs are high up on the political agenda and concrete, as a key component of the construction sector, has a lot to offer.  Construction is the largest single economic activity and the greatest industrial employer in Europe with some 20 million jobs. The concrete industry as a whole employs some 550 000 people in the EU, generating approximately €65 000 added value per employed capita per annum. With this in mind, the focal point of this launch event was a debate with EU stakeholders on key issues including the regulatory framework which is required to achieve Europe’s goals, as well as the need for local resources, local manufacturing and a local market. Concrete is a local business, employing local people. Money and investment in construction are pumped back into the local economy. The components that go into making concrete – aggregates, cement, and water - are also sourced locally. The production value also remains local.

The Concrete Initiative hopes to continue to engage with EU authorities on how to stimulate construction through policy measures and standards that generate growth and innovation in a more sustainable way.

Concrete: the backbone of sustainable construction

Concrete is the most widely-used construction material in the world, and part of our everyday lives. Its ubiquitous nature often means its features are taken for granted. The Concrete Initiative therefore also aims to increase awareness of its essential role to develop a more sustainable construction model for Europe.  

About The Concrete Initiative

The Concrete Initiative gathers together the cement and concrete sectors.  It is composed of CEMBUREAU (the European Cement Association) BIBM (the European Federation of Precast Concrete) and ERMCO (the European Ready-Mixed Concrete Organization). Its aim is to engage with stakeholders on the issue of sustainable construction, from a concrete perspective.

More information: Website - Film Manifesto - Twitter Facebook This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

TheConcreteInitiaviveFINAL

Brussels, 27 March 2014: Today, EU stakeholders gathered in Brussels to discuss sustainable construction and the challenges which will need to be tackled in the years to come. Under the auspices of The Concrete Initiative, representatives from the European institutions, the wider construction industry, NGOs and civil society met to lay the foundations of future dialogue on this issue.

The debate centered around the three pillars of sustainability, namely social, environmental and economic, as sustainable construction can only be achieved by balancing all three. By bringing together a variety of stakeholders The Concrete Initiative hopes to trigger a long term reflection process. In this respect, The Concrete Initiative hopes to engage EU authorities on how to stimulate construction through policy measures and standards that generate growth and innovation in a more sustainable way.

Concrete is the most widely-used construction material in the world, and part of our everyday lives. Its ubiquitous nature often means its features are taken for granted. The Concrete Initiative therefore also aims to increase awareness of its essential role to develop a more sustainable construction model for Europe.

Watch this space for the official launch of The Concrete Initiative on 27 May 2014!

About us: The Concrete Initiative gathers together the cement and concrete sectors. It is composed of CEMBUREAU (the European Cement Association) BIBM (the European Federation of Precast Concrete) and ERMCO (the European Ready-Mixed Concrete Organization). Its' aim is to engage with stakeholders on the issue of sustainable construction, from a concrete perspective. To learn more about us, please contact either Jessica Johnson: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or simply follow us on Twitter!

 An initiative by:

Logos concrete initiative

Sustainable construction glossary: Have your say on how it can be improved!

In 2010, the Sustainable Construction glossary, produced by the Architects Council of Europe (ACE) and the European Concrete Platform (ECP), was launched.  This was followed by the launch, in 2011, of the multilingual versions of the glossary produced by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). This project is a response to the growing need for more sustainable construction, and the need to provide greater clarity on the new concepts, phrases and terms that are being increasingly used across Europe. It combines these terms together into an effective, concise and easily accessible tools.

We are pleased to announce that a review of this glossary is now underway!

Since its inception, a collaborative approach has formed the basis of the development of this glossary. In this respect, the three partners (ACE, ECP and EESC) would like to once again encourage all interested stakeholders to take part in the review of the glossary.  The importance of sustainable construction has increased and evolved over the last three years.  Therefore there is a need to refresh the glossary and bring it up to date with latest developments in this field.  However, in order to achieve the most accurate terms and definitions, we cannot do this alone – inspiration and up-to-date expertise is required from a wide range actors with a stake in sustainable construction

By using a wiki format, we can reach, and gain input from, the largest possible network of experts and stakeholders in this field.  This ensures that all sectors are able to contribute to this valuable project, and thereby contribute to its success.  The aim is to have the most comprehensive, concise and broadly accepted glossary of terms related to sustainable construction which we all understand and which we all use. 

For this purpose, the Wiki has been reactivated: www.sccommonlanguage.eu.  Anyone with internet access can read, copy and use the material.  Identified contributors can also write and make changes to the content. In order to enjoy the full wiki experience and make changes, you will need to register.

The wiki consultation will remain open until 28 March 2014.

All contributions will then be reviewed, integrated and sent for translation.  For full information on the project and to take part in the Wiki, click here