The new changes in the European Green Deal are expected to bring many benefits to people and businesses.

Thanks to energy labels idea that help consumers to buy more eco-friendly products and save energy, or the new European Union (EU) rules that reduce the use of plastics, keeping keep public spaces, by 2018 the EU had achieved a 23% reduction greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 while growing its economy by 61%.

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The European Demolition Association is fully committed to the European Green Deal’s policies as they relate to the demolition and recycling sector (photo courtesy of EDA member Delete Group)

Making Europe climate-neutral and protecting natural habitats, making energy cleaner and more affordable, a new industrial strategy for a clean and circular economy, preserving and protecting biodiversity and moving towards a zero-pollution ambition for a toxic free environment, are all part of what the European Green Deal is about – new proposals that are going to improve the rate of waste.

The new strategy that the European Green Deal offers for the building and demolition sector aims to recognise the importance in reaching more ambitious climate and energy targets, the European Parliament said.

Construction and demolition innovation to help move to zero-carbon buildings
The EU pursues a prosperous society with a modern resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions greenhouse gases by 2050, turning an urgent challenge into a unique opportunity to achieve a fair and clean way to get and reuse all the resources.

Therefore, for a transition to a zero-carbon building stock, as the European Commission said in the European Green Deal document, innovation is needed in the construction and demolition sector. New policies to trigger investment in renovation, investments in resilience and adaptation to avoid significant damages to the buildings and re-evaluate sustainable building investments.

These benefits are hard to control and measure because they are all dispersed over many beneficiaries and different parts of the production chain. “That’s why the EU should mandate an evolution in assessing building investments,” said the European Commission.

The European Green Deal also aims to protect, conserve and enhance the EU’s natural capital and improve the health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts.

Achieving the European Union’s climate goals
To achieve the EU’s climate and environmental goals, the European Commission propose a new policy based on the circular economy, an alternative to the linear “take-make-consume-dispose” economic model, due to the climate ambition for the year 2050.

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Increasing waste prevention and improving the quality of recycling is a major objective for the European Union (photo courtesy of EDA member Hydraram)

This could affect the building and demolition sector with policies that address uncompetitive pricing, lack of trust in the quality of secondary materials and the long delay between implementing actions on new buildings and their effect on waste management decades later, the European Environment Agency said. One of the most important objectives that the EU wants to achieve is to increase waste prevention and get a higher quality and quantity of recycling.

The European Green Deal reforms these policies, managing to help and encourage changes in consumer and business behaviour, facilitating and increasing investments and recycling or reusing construction and demolition waste.

How the European Demolition Association is involved in these policies
The EDA is fully involved and committed to all these new policies. This commitment has been translated in the past few years by collaborating in several European projects as a reference stakeholder and disseminating the results.

Some examples are IRCOW (Innovative Strategies for High-Grade Material Recovery from Construction and Demolition Waste) project, which has the goal to develop and validate upgraded technological solutions to achieve an efficient material recovery from construction and demolition waste by considering a life cycle perspective; or the Gypsum project, which is based on changing the way gypsum-based waste is treated, so it can be used to make the same product again.

  • Article first published in the March 2020 issue of Demolition & Recycling International

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