January 25, 2023Read more
Yesterday’s adoption by the European Parliament of their Report on the New European Bauhaus is a welcome move. The Report is the work of the ITRE and CULT committees via the rapporteurs Christian Ehler MEP and Marcos Ros Sempere MEP.
The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is especially pleased with paragraph 22 on page 12 which reads: “Stresses the importance of transforming, upgrading and retrofitting the existing building stock, including poorly planned and constructed buildings erected by totalitarian regimes, of applying nature-based solutions such as wood and of reducing waste and increasing durability, re-usability and circularity in the built environment; insists that this should include favouring renovation and adaptive re-use over demolition and new builds, as appropriate, removing barriers related to the handling and transport of waste as well as raising people’s awareness about embodied and stored carbon in materials to enable them to make informed choices”.
In addition, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is pleased to see that the Members of the European Parliament recognise once again the climate benefits of building and renovating with wood. The choices that we make when we choose a material have a direct impact on the climate as their production is an important source of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Construction accounts for 40 per cent of the GHG emissions from global materials production in terms of material use with a climate impact. Changes in the design, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings can reduce the amount or carbon intensity of construction materials required, decrease the energy used during a building’s operation, extend a building’s lifetime and make materials and components available for reuse or recycling. There is significant potential to reduce emissions through substitution of materials with wood and wood fibre. Plant-based materials tend to cause less CO2 in their production and store carbon during their use.
In line with the European Parliament, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance supports the call of the Parliament to the Commission and the Member States to connect the New European Bauhaus to the Renovation Wave. Renovations that substantially reduce energy use and GHG emissions in buildings while improving comfort for their occupants must be prioritised.
To this end research should be encouraged into green buildings and green materials and techniques that contribute towards sustainable construction and that also bring other benefits to building owners and users. The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance wants to contribute towards lower development costs, lower operating costs, healthier indoor environment quality, improved comfort and enhanced durability.
Finally, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is also pleased to see that the Members of the European Parliament recognise the importance of investing in skills and education of employees, apprentices and students (Point 24, page 12). The New European Bauhaus Initiative can only grow and expand when employees have up to date and modern skills and qualifications – starting from quality education in vocational and company-based training as well as higher education.
The European Commission’s New European Bauhaus calls for a creative, interdisciplinary, novel movement embedded in society to imagine a sustainable future together and to engage on a transformative path towards affordable and beautiful living spaces in urban and rural environments. A key step is the transformation of the building sector into a circular model that can also counteract the escalating climate crisis. This transformation requires prioritised research in the use of organic materials in buildings.
The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance’s main objective is to shape a better and sustainable future with beautiful, healthy and inclusive living, working, and learning spaces as part of a sustainable, low carbon-built environment. Our platform shall foster an open, long-term dialogue with all interested stakeholders and help share good practices related to the Circular Economy and Green Buildings. Our goal is to inspire as many actors as possible to co-create and develop contributions to the New European Bauhaus from European to regional and local level, all in the common interest to advance and exploit as much as possible nature-based materials, innovative building systems and smart solutions to mitigate climate harm and benefit European citizens. The Alliance will therefore:
- Encourage research and innovation for novel, innovative uses of wood in the built environment,
- Foster new collaborations and co-creation between different stakeholders across disciplines, sectors, and society, and
- Facilitate knowledge sharing and skills development towards future generations.
The Alliance confirming these policy recommendations comprises the following partners:
InnovaWood is the European network for wood science, research, innovation and education with 60+ member organisations in 28 countries, including RTOs, universities, VET centres and cluster organisations. The European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois) is an umbrella organisation of 21 European and national organisations from 15 countries backing the interests of the whole wood sector. The European Panel Federation (EPF) represents 100,000 direct jobs in wood-based panel manufacturing and furniture in 32 countries. The European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) represents 35,000 sawmills in 12 countries. The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) is the European Trade Union Federation grouping 76 national free trade unions from 34 countries with members in the building, building materials, woodworking, forestry and allied industries and trades. InnoRenew CoE is a new research centre in Slovenia focused on sustainable construction with renewable materials.
BASAJAUN project fosters sustainable wood construction chains from forest harvesting to final buildings and Circular Economy solutions in the sector. It has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 862942. InnoRenew CoE was founded with support from H2020 Widespread-2-Teaming grant no. 739574.