Ecology in the construction sector
Resource conservation in the building sector is an important segment of the circular economy and serves the purpose of reducing natural resource consumption. The “ECO” supplement refers to ecological criteria that go beyond energy. This is a distinction from the Minergie-Standard® indicator, which does not take the ECO supplement into account.
Among other things, the indicator provides insight into the progress made in the area of raw materials and waste in the key area of material cycles in buildings.
The housing sector (including energy, water and construction) accounts for 24% of Switzerland’s consumption-related overall environmental impact (see Environment Switzerland 2018). Key levers for reducing environmental impact in this area are better insulation, energy-efficient and non-fossil heating systems (with thermal insulation and cooling systems becoming increasingly important due to climate change), smaller living spaces, electricity from renewable sources and construction methods that are as sustainable as possible, for example in accordance with Minergie-ECO, the Swiss Sustainable Building Standard or the certification system of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).
The indicator state is assessed as negative as the proportion of total building area accounted for by Minergie-ECO certified, ecologically exemplary building area (approx. 4.1 million m2 energy reference area) was still very small in 2019 (about 0.5%). The proportion for new-build properties in 2019 was around 3%. The indicator covers building area in housing, services and industry.
The trend is assessed as positive as the proportion of building area that meets high energy and ecological standards is increasing.
Certification under the Swiss Sustainable Building Standard 2.0 (SNBS 2.0) has been possible since 2016. It is currently used mainly for large-scale projects (with a total gross floor area of approximately 47,000 m2 (SIA 416) by 2018; experts estimate the associated energy reference area (EBF) to be around 15% smaller). Use of the SNBS without certification is increasing, representing an area of roughly 3,100,000 m2 by 2018. Double certification with SNBS and Minergie is increasingly common on large projects, but less so where application is voluntary (10–20%, according to expert estimates).
- Related indicators
Similar standards are available at international level. However they are not directly comparable with Minergie-ECO®.
The MINERGIE® family of standards define voluntary requirements for energy consumption by buildings. The supplementary ecological requirements defined in the Minergie-ECO®, Minergie-P-ECO® and Minergie-A-ECO® standards take additional factors into account, for example resource conservation and a low environmental impact across the entire life cycle of a building. Hence the environmental impacts arising from raw material extraction and the production, processing and dismantling of disposal of the materials are considered. Consideration is also given to “embodied energy”, which includes energy consumed abroad for the production and transportation of imported products, building materials and use of recycled building materials, as well as health and ecotoxicological requirements.
The energy reference area (Energiebezugsfläche, EBF) is the sum of all above- and below-ground floor areas, the use of which requires heating or air-conditioning. The indicator shows the cumulative energy reference areas (EBF) of Minergie buildings that meet the relevant supplementary ecological requirements.
The indicator is compiled on the basis of the statistics of the Minergie association.
|Targeted trend||Initial value||Final value||Variation in %||Observed trend||Assessment|
|Growth||Average 2006-2008||Average 2017-2019||2'750.67%||Growth||positive|