Method for assessing the carbon footprint of buildings to be tested by construction projects

Press release 2019-08-30 at 11:22

The Ministry of the Environment will start testing the method for assessing the carbon footprint of buildings. By means of the testing period starting in autumn 2019 and ending in summer 2020, it is investigated how well the method prepared by the Ministry of the Environment is applicable to ordinary planning and construction projects.

The method for assessing the carbon footprint of buildings aims to help the calculation of the climate impact of construction, and it covers a building's entire life cycle from manufacturing of building products to transport and construction site operations, use and repairs, and demolition and recycling at the end of the life cycle.

The testing of the method is part of the Ministry of the Environment's low-carbon construction roadmap published in 2017, which strives to incorporate the carbon footprint of buildings into the legislative framework. In line with the Government Programme of 2019, the implementation of the low-carbon construction roadmap has to be accelerated – the aim is that the legislative framework will be in use in the mid-2020s.

The first draft version of the assessment method was developed together with construction experts and was sent out for comments at the end of 2018. By means of the feedback received in the consultation round, specifications and changes were made to the method, and in the testing period starting now more experiences are gathered on the functioning of the method, based on which the next version of the assessment method will be prepared and tested.

After the consultation round the method was amended particularly as concerns consideration to the target life of buildings, the benefits of surplus renewable energy and the emission factors of different energy forms.

“We hope various kinds of building projects will be tested. New building and renovation projects are welcome as well as buildings of different sizes. However, planning of buildings should be at a stage where the materials to be used for the building are mainly known,” says Matti Kuittinen, Senior Specialist from the Ministry of the Environment.

Support and advice available for testing

Financial assistance is available for the method for assessing the carbon footprint of buildings. Electronic applications must be submitted by 30 September 2019 (www.elinkaarilaskenta.fi). Call for applications starts on 30 August 2019.

Low-carbon building is also supported by the advice service launched by Green Building Council Finland, which can be used by both public and private operators. Green Building Council Finland is a non-profit organisation, which promotes sustainable development in the real estate and construction sectors.

“We want to play a part in improving expertise related to low-carbon building in Finland. During the testing period of the assessment method we offer advice online, by telephone and in workshops,” says Lauri Tähtinen, Senior Specialist from Green Building Council Finland.

In addition to testing the assessment method, development will be started on a national emission database, for which the Finnish Environment Institute is responsible.

“Moving the assessment method from testing into practice requires reliable and transparently produced data as a basis for calculation,” says Janne Pesu, Senior Specialist from the Finnish Environment Institute.

The database containing emission data on building materials, construction, transport and waste management is developed together with the construction sector. The aim is to complete the first version of the database in the course of 2020.

Inquiries

Matti Kuittinen
Senior Specialist
Ministry of the Environment
+358 295 250 268
matti.kuittinen@ym.fi

Lauri Tähtinen
Senior Specialist
Green Building Council Finland
+358 40 486 5400
lauri.tahtinen@figbc.fi

Janne Pesu
Senior Specialist
Finnish Environment Institute
+358 29 525 1405
janne.pesu@ymparisto.fi