Sustainable construction and renovation in Europe

What does sustainable construction mean?
According to the Conseil International du bâtiment, sustainable construction could be defined as: “the creation and operation of a healthy built environment based on resource efficiency and ecological principles”..
Sustainable construction addresses the entire life cycle of buildings:
  • Planning;
  • Design;
  • Construction;
  • Operation;
  • Modifications;
  • Renovation, retrofit;
  • and ultimate disposal.
In practice, it means:
  • Enhancing structure design efficiency;
  • Promoting energy efficiency in Buildings (passive house);
  • Enhancing indoor air quality, in particular for passive house;
  • Maximizing recycling of construction materials (resource efficiency);
  • Designing for recycling;
  • Reducing waste during construction;
  • Optimizing water efficiency in buildings;
  • Dismantling a building instead of demolishing it;
  • Optimizing maintenance operations of a building during use.
What does sustainable renovation mean?
For a building renovation to bring value to society and, the following aspects must be taken into account:
  • Energy performance (reduction of consumption over efficiency);
  • Occupant health and comfort (thermal, environmental sensitivity);
  • Hygrothermal performance (durability and moisture management);
  • Indoor air quality (air changes per hour, off-gassing, contaminant existence);
  • Material choice (embodied energy, chemical composition, sourcing and shipping).