Macro-objectives for environmental performance of buildings

Sustainable buildings
22 December 2015


Following the Communication on Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the building sector, the European Commission launched a ‘Resource Efficient Buildings’ study to develop a common EU framework of core indicators to assess the environmental performance of buildings. DG ENVI and DG GROW are coordinating the development of this framework, but the study will be carried out by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in 2015-2017.


In December 2015, JRC published a working paper that focuses on the identification of macro-objectives for the environmental performance of buildings. Six short-term final macro-objectives were identified:


  1. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from building life cycle energy use: minimise the total GHG along a building’s lifecycle, with a focus on building operational energy use emissions and embodied emissions.
  2. Resource efficient material life cycles: optimise building design, engineering and form in order to support lean and circular flows, extend long-term material utility and reduce significant environmental impacts.
  3. Efficient use of water resources: make efficient use of water resources, particularly in areas of identified long-term or projected water stress.
  4. Healthy and comfortable spaces: Design, construction and renovation of buildings that protect human health by minimising the potential for occupier and worker exposure to health risks.
  5. Resilience to climate change: future-proofing buildings’ thermal performance for projected changes in the urban microclimate in order to protect occupier health and comfort.
  6. Optimised life cycle cost (LCC) and value: optimisation of the LCC and value of building, inclusive of acquisition, operation, maintenance and disposal.


In the medium to long term, the list of macro-objectives can be extended to ten for the identification of performance indicators. Such indicators could address productive workspaces and liveable and decent homes. It may also be possible to include indicators related to new-build neighbourhoods (e.g. travel patterns, urban pressure on land and green and low carbon infrastructure).


According to the project overview, a public consultation will be launched in summer 2016 and the final set of resource efficiency core indicators should be ready in July 2017.