Let's speak sustainable construction

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In response to the need for more sustainable construction, new concepts, phrases, terms and expressions are being used in the construction industry across Europe.  These concepts are aimed at improving the environmental, social and economic impact of the industry and its outputs.  From Air Source Heat Pumps to Net Zero Carbon Buildings; from Whole Life Costing to Photovoltaic Electricity; from Recycled Resources to Passive House; it is important that the industry reaches a common understanding of these terms – to speak a common language for sustainable construction - in order to provide a base for harmonised development in the future. 


The European Concrete Platform working together with the Architects Council of Europe believed it valuable to gather together these terms and establish a ‘working’ glossary of the concepts currently in use in a concise, easily accessible form.  This can then be used to disseminate information about sustainable construction more widely across the industry.  The purpose of the new publication is to ensure a common understanding of the terminology used within the framework of sustainable construction and it should become a tool for disseminating information about sustainable construction across the EU.  The original English wiki version was launched during the 2010 EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) and is already being used by the construction sector, by policy-makers at national and European levels and for communications, educational and training purposes within the sectors directly concerned. 


A great deal of activity is focused on sustainable development issues across the EU.  In relation to this the Commission is developing initiatives on sustainable construction as a sub-set of its campaign for sustainable production and sustainable consumption.  For example, Sustainable Construction is an EU Lead Market Initiative (LMI) - with a plan to promote the benefits and develop skills and capacities for the future; the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive has recently been revised; also TC 350 continues to make progress on new European standards. 

We would like to sincerely thank the European Economic and Social Committee whose enthusiasm made this multilingual Sustainable Construction Glossary possible.  We are certain that this will contribute to the construction of sustainable buildings and infrastructure across the EU!