• 06 Aug

    Level(s): Building sustainability performance


     

    The building sector has a key role to play in addressing issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, health and well-being, and sustainable development. This is why the European Commission developed Level(s), a voluntary assessment and reporting framework to improve the sustainability of buildings.

    Level(s) provides a set of common indicators and metrics for measuring the environmental performance of office and residential buildings, which takes  their full life cycle into account. The framework focuses on six key areas: greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency, water use, health and comfort, resilience to climate change and life cycle cost.

    While Level(s) is a tool to assess and report on sustainability performance, it is not a certification scheme and does not use European benchmarks. With a limited number of indicators compared to existing certification schemes, Level(s) is clearly targeting the mainstream market. The aim is for these indicators to become a common language and a simple entry point into sustainability reporting for the whole of Europe. Level(s) aims at guiding classic building project in gradually performing better, and building professionals in understanding how different choices along the life cycle have an impact on sustainability performance.

    Objectives

    The primary objective of Level(s) is to help construction and real estate stakeholders reduce the environmental impacts of buildings, by providing them with a reporting framework that links the building's individual performance with European policy objectives. By introducing Level(s) as a pan-European framework, the European Commission hopes to achieve the following objectives:

    • Providing a common language using robust indicators based on existing standards.
    • Moving mainstream dialogue beyond energy use issues alone and encouraging the "mainstream market" to incorporate sustainability.
    • Growing the market for sustainable buildings to more regions and countries.
    • Encouraging public authorities to start using Level(s) when developing their policy initiatives, so policies across Europe in this field are well aligned.
    • Enabling the setting of clear objectives and targets for building performance in areas beyond energy use, complementing already existing European legislation on buildings.

    While developing Level(s), the European Commission has consulted with construction and real estate organisation  for several years . Many of the stakeholders involved in this development, including the major European certification schemes, believe in the potential of the framework to drive mainstream improvements in Europe's building market as it provides industry with a long-term vision.

    A two-year testing phase has just been launched, to see if the tool is ready for the mass market. The testing phase will end in March 2020. Registration for testing Level(s) on building projects is open until 30 September.

    For more information, please visit http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/buildings.htm