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21 October 2018
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Level(s) will be used across Europe © Shutterstock

29 September 2017 | Deborah Shrewsbury

The European Commission has launched the pilot phase of ‘Level(s)’, a new EU framework for sustainable buildings to help to transform the sector.


It is the first tool of this kind that has been developed for use across the whole of Europe.


Karmenu Vella, commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said: “Level(s) can help us develop an environment built sustainably across Europe and support our transition to the circular economy. We are releasing this framework for the sector during World Green Building Week, demonstrating Europe’s global leadership.


“It marks an important step towards a more resource-efficient and competitive construction sector in Europe.”


Level(s) is the result of a broad consultation with industry and the public sector, and focuses on performance indicators in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource and water efficiency, and health and comfort. It aims to establish a ‘common language’ on what sustainable building means in practice – shifting the debate beyond energy performance.


The test phase for Level(s) is being run until 2019. All building projects are invited to learn more about it and to pilot the new tool. The European Commission will provide technical assistance to those applying all or parts of Level(s).


James Drinkwater, director of the World Green Building Council's Europe Regional Network, said: “This is a clear signal to the market that sustainable building practice is shifting from niche to norm. Having a common goal to deliver nearly zero-energy buildings across Europe galvanised industry-wide action, and now having a common language around ‘sustainable’ building helps us begin to really transform mainstream practice.”  


Level(s) is an open source assessment framework developed by the Commission in collaboration with Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Sustainable Building Alliance and Green Building Councils.


Two technical guidance reports have been published to support the pilot phase. The first report introduces Level(s), explaining how it works. The second gives detailed guidance on how to make performance assessments using Level(s). The commission will host a pilot workshop for organisations interested in testing Level(s) in Brussels on 4 December.