The OECD has been working on the Sustainable Building Project with an aim to assist Member countries in developing policies to reduce three kinds of environmental impacts of the building sector: CO2 emissions, generation of construction and demolition waste and indoor air pollution.
The building sector has a major impact not only on economic and social activities but also on the natural and built environment. The sector is responsible for about 30% of primary energy use in OECD countries. Material flow analyses for some Member countries show that the sector accounts for between one-third and one-half of the commodity flow, when expressed in terms of weight.
The objective of the OECD's Sustainable Building Project is to examine how government should design policies to address this environmental impact and provide suggestions for policymakers, with a focus on three environmental objectives that are closely related to the sector: reduction of CO2 emissions, minimisation of construction and demolition waste, and prevention of indoor air pollution.
Based on an analytical study of barriers to improvement, case studies of policy instruments that have been implemented in 7 OECD countries, and discussions at the OECD/IEA Workshop (part 1 and 2), characteristics of the main policy instruments for this sector (e.g., building regulation, energy tax, landfill tax, capital subsidy, environmental labelling, etc.) were comprehensively analysed.
All main findings from works during the first phase of the project were combined in the Synthesis Report on policy design for environmentally sustainable buildings, which also included key policy recommendations for improving policy design in this area. The second phase of the project was carried out by the Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate of the OECD, which held a Workshop on Towards Sustainable Use of Building Stock in Tokyo in January 2004.
Links to Relevant OECD Reports and Publications
Environmentally Sustainable Buildings: Challenges and Policies (2003)
This book presents an analysis of the environmental impacts of the building sector and of current policies to mitigate these impacts, in particular with regard to reduction of CO2 emission, minimisation of construction and demolition waste and prevention of indoor air pollution.
Design of Sustainable Building Policies: Scope for Improvement and Barriers (2002)
This report is intended to identify barriers to the improvement of environmental characteristics of buildings that are often closely related to the specific characteristics of the building sector.
OECD/IEA Workshop on the Design of Sustainable Building Policies (2001)
The objective of the workshop was to facilitate the exchange of information as well as to discuss the design of government policies for 3 environmental objectives: the reduction of CO2 emission, minimisation of the construction and demolition waste and the prevention of indoor air pollution. Please also note the Summary, Conclusions and Contributed Papers: Part 1 and Contributed Papers: Part 2.