Building-up energy saving awarness
4.4 ECOLABEL: SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA FOR BUILDINGS Arch. Carola Arrivas Bajardi, ARPA Sicily
The European Commission considers the life cycle approach as an essential instrument for the environmental assessment of product and services (Green Paper on IPP COM(2001)68). There are numerous methods for assessing the environmental impact of buildings developed under the life cycle approach. Schematically it is possible to articulate them in two main categories: • Methods that apply the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment, ISO14040 standard) methodology by drawing a strict budget of all environmental effects of the life cycle of the building, such as the Dutch ECO QUANTUM, the German ECO-PRO, the French EQUER and the Swedish LCATool. • Methods “in scores”, generally structured in checklist, using the life cycle approach to provide qualitative assessments of the environmental performance of buildings, such as the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the US LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and the GBC (Green Building Challenge), that comes from studies carried out by a worldwide network of institutes and research organizations from 24 different countries and was adopted in Italy by the ITACA Protocol. All these initiatives show the growing interest in environmental sustainability of buildings, however, at European level there is a need to harmonize the different approaches in a recognizable brand applicable throughout Europe. Within this scenario, the European
Commission has entrusted the Italian Committee for Ecolabel and Ecoaudit the task of developing the ecological criteria for the award of the EU Ecolabel for buildings. The EU Ecolabel (Reg. (CE) 66/2010) is a type 1 of environmental labelling (ISO 14024:1999) based on the life cycle approach, that is granted to the best products and services from an environmental perspective. The objective of the new Ecolabel for buildings would be to assign the trade mark only to those buildings where the environmental impacts associated with the main stages of the life cycle (design, construction, operation and maintenance, restructuring, end of life), are below certain thresholds. According to the draft, the product group definition for “buildings” shall comprise: “buildings considered in their entirety, as well as small houses, new or existing, public or private, used for residential purpose and for use as offices”. The ecological criteria should be referred to new and existing buildings and also divided into mandatory and optional. The aims of the draft criteria are: • limit energy and water consumption, • limit waste production and enhance recycling, • favour the use of materials with high environmental performances; • favour the use of renewable resources and of substances which are less hazardous to the environment, • favour indoor well-being, • promote information and education on the correct management of the building. The energy aspects of the 3rd draft Ecolabel Criteria for Buildings are referred to the
parameters included in Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), also one of the mandatory criteria is to implement the EPBD. In fact for the assessment and verification of the energy efficiency the applicant shall provide the energy efficency certification showing the annual energy use per area for heating expressed as kWh/m2year. However there are some aspects related to energy efficiency that, in the light of experience gained from the TeenergySchools Project, should be modified. In particular the mandatory criteria on energy efficiency includes only the heating, while cooling and ventilation, two criteria that are particularly related to climatic conditions typical of Mediterranean, are considered only as optional. On the other hand there is no explicit reference on summer passive cooling also in LEED and BREAM methods. Therefore, the aim of Teenergy-Schools Project is to contribute on covering this lack whit the diffusion of technological solutions for the indoor comfort in the schools of the Mediterranean area such as summer passive cooling.