Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

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European Engineering Consultancies - efca

The European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA) has member associations in 27 countries, representing more than 10,000 companies from the European engineering consultancy industry and related fields. Based in Brussels, EFCA is committed to facilitating constructive dialogue with European Institutions on issues impacting our industry; and engaging with international stakeholders on shared interests.

EFCA’s position in brief

1. EFCA supports the Whole Life Carbon (WLC) approach. It is essential to reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment. The scope of regulation needs to be widened, from the current limited focus on operational impact in the use phase, to the inclusion of embodied carbon.
2. Common calculation methods, targets, standards and indicators need to be developed at EU level.
3. The roadmap needs to set out a clear transition path and should generate a greater sense of urgency across the entire European Union. It must have longevity, be updated when necessary and guide the transition for as long as it takes.
4. The roadmap needs to be clear, evidenced, and bold. It must address infrastructure as well as buildings and cover renovation as well as new construction.
5. The implementation of the roadmap requires cross-sectoral, interinstitutional, public and private sector collaboration.

EFCA is a key stakeholder in the shaping and delivery of the roadmap, representing the engineering community, which will design whole life carbon solutions within the broader perspective of the sustainable built environment position in brief

Whole Life Carbon Roadmap should reinforce existing regulatory framework

The aim of the roadmap should be to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment,
with the participation and commitment of the entire construction ecosystem. In some European countries, where embodied carbon is already part of a policy framework with ever more restrictive building codes, we are seeing a more balanced approach between operational carbon measures and sustainable material solutions. Although this is a big step forward, an EU-wide approach would encourage other European countries to follow.
Inevitably, at some point the roadmap needs to be accompanied by reinforcement of existing regulatory measures. The challenge is to avoid creating a framework, which inadvertently leads to counter-productive rigid compliance. Whether or not the design solution is primarily centred on staying within predefined parameters, the goal is to ensure it optimises
installations and materials to achieve the best overall design.
Given that some Member States have already introduced regulation on whole life carbon, we believe that it is time to regulate at EU level.
Furthermore, the current framework does not adequately maximise the enormous potential for decarbonising infrastructure. A more rigorous approach to certification and inclusion of infrastructure in key legislative initiatives is required.

Roadmap for entire built environment and entire construction ecosystem

We need to reduce carbon dramatically, quickly and for all construction projects. This of course means that ambition needs to go beyond buildings. Infrastructure generates as much embodied carbon as buildings. Ultimately, we need to aim for carbon-neutral cities, but we need to work with the built environment we already have, not the one we would design if we were starting again. Therefore, the roadmap – at least in the interim – has to aim for smaller scale, individual decarbonisation achievements: renovation, new build, buildings and infrastructure.
Whole life carbon obviously needs to be tackled at material production, design, build and use phase, but it also falls to the clients to demand whole life carbon compliant projects and to the policy makers to shore up the process with effective regulation.


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