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Systemic shift in the building sector. Renovation wave

Thematic area: Green buildings, construction Activities: Advocating at local level in order to persuade public authorities /municipalities to use GPP criteria in building renovation

Evidence gathered from buildings across Europe indicates that their most significant environmental impacts relate to energy use during their occupation. Their relative importance primarily varies according to the thermal efficiency of the building and the climatic zone in which it is located. This highlights the importance of taking into account the overall energy performance of a building, which could include the potential to generate cleaner energy. The production of construction products is responsible for the next most significant environmental impacts.

The most significant environmental impacts of buildings

These relate to the resources used and the emissions and ecosystem impacts associated with raw material extraction, processing and transportation. Resource use is influenced by the amount of waste generated during product manufacturing, construction on-site and demolition processes, which can be significant as a proportion of the overall material flows on a construction site. This highlights the importance of designing and specifying for resource efficiency, with the most significant building elements to address being the floors, roof, structure and external walls. In this respect the recycling and re-use of construction materials and products, as well as whole building elements, can contribute to reducing environmental impacts and development of a circular economy.

A related consideration in the case of large-volume, high-weight construction materials are impacts relating to the transportation of aggregates (natural, recycled or secondary) to production sites. Transport of these materials is typically by lorry, which results in fuel-related emissions that are generally greater than or equal to those for the production of such materials. If these materials are moved over distances greater than 25 km, the resulting emissions can contribute significantly to the environmental impacts of the production phase for the main building elements.

Minimizing transport-related emissions can help to promote the use of lower impact modes of transport such as rail or shipping for these materials. Finally, the use of recycled materials such as aggregates from construction and demolition waste can help develop a market for such materials,

As a general rule, the longer the lifespan of the main structural elements of the building, the lower their associated life cycle environmental impacts. This assumes, however, that the life cycle energy performance of the building as a whole (including both the use phase and the production of construction products) is prioritized as part of the overall approach during its service life.

The integration of nature-based solutions, such as green roofs and walls, habitats in courtyards and patios, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and street trees can have multiple advantages (in addition to supporting biodiversity). Among those, we find limiting rain-water run-off, improving thermal efficiency through natural cooling, enhancing indoor air quality and making the working environment more attractive and productive.

 The proposed EU GPP Buildings approach , climate related

  • Design and construction to achieve high energy efficiency performance and low associated CO2 emissions
  • Installation of high efficiency and renewable energy technologies which make use of site-specific opportunities to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions
  • Design and specification to reduce the embodied impacts and resource use associated with construction materials
  • Design, specification and site management to minimize construction and demolition (C&D) waste and to use building products or materials with a high recycled or re-used content
  • Ventilation design in order to ensure healthy air and minimize the intake of external air pollution
  • Installation of physical and electronic systems to support the ongoing minimization of energy use, and waste arisings by facilities managers and occupiers
  • Implementation of staff travel plans to reduce transport related fuel use and CO2 emissions, including infrastructure to support electric vehicles and cycling

Our Programm

Green Public Procurement (GPP) is an important tool to achieve environmental policy goals relating to climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production used in renovation of public buildings.

The renovation wave strategy, published by European Commission will help to improve the energy performance of buildings.

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU's energy consumption, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

Odysseus & Athena Institute , closely collaborates with three major municipality’s networks, with 160 members in total ( out of 325 Greek municipalities)

The collaboration focuses on shaping local policies on “smart and sustainable development” and improving quality of life in cities and regions.

The project aims to acquaint municipalities with GPP criteria in building sector and especially in renovation of public buildings

The pilot phase of the project includes 15 municipalities through  10 interactive webinars


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We support the achievement United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which address the greatest challenges facing humanity.

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