The Council of the EU adopts revised rules mandating global warming potential reporting for buildings

Global warming potential (GWP) calculations, based on the corresponding Level(s) indicator, will soon be required for energy performance certificates.

On 12 April, the Council of the EU adopted revised energy performance rules for buildings. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy poverty in the European Union.

As part of the changes to be brought in by the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), practitioners will need to disclose the global warming potential (GWP) of new buildings. This must be stated on their energy performance certificates and calculated using a measure drawn from Level(s), the EU framework for sustainable and circular buildings.

The requirement to calculate the whole lifecycle GWP of new buildings is a significant milestone towards a circular built environment. It will make it possible to determine the sector’s overall contribution to the harmful emissions driving climate change.

How Level(s) works

Level(s) was developed by the European Commission to assist buildings professionals and policy makers. It has a set of core sustainability and circularity performance indicators measuring carbon, materials, water, health, comfort and climate change impacts throughout a building’s full lifecycle. It is a flexible solution for identifying sustainability hotspots and for future-proofing a building project or portfolio. Level(s) is open source and freely available to all.

The steady integration of Level(s) into EU legislation on buildings

Since its launch in 2020, Level(s) has been integrated into several EU policies and laws, driving its adoption as a common language for assessing and monitoring sustainability performance throughout the building lifecycle.

The reference to Level(s) in the EPBD is part of a broader move to realign buildings legislation with circularity principles:

  • The EU’s new Energy Efficiency Directive encourages Member States to include a lifecycle perspective when procuring public buildings, and makes specific reference to the corresponding Level(s) indicators.
  • The European Commission’s advanced draft Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria see the Level(s) framework playing a crucial role in encouraging local and regional authorities to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings using the Level(s) indicators.
  • Building on the EU Taxonomy, sustainable finance is another area where Level(s) has had an influence in defining sustainability for the EU building sector. 

How to get started with Level(s)

You can find an introduction to Level(s) on the European Commission environment website. This features a user-friendly Level(s) eLearning programme to help all kinds of buildings professionals to start using it in their working environments. If you have specific questions about how to use Level(s), you can also contact the Level(s) helpdesk. Level(s) organises regular webinars on different aspects of the framework and its tools. You can subscribe to the Level(s) newsletter and mailing list to be notified about coming sessions.