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According to the figures published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the Eruopean Union, house prices fell by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.4% in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Among the Member States for which data are available, the highest annual increases in house prices in the fourth quarter of 2012 were recorded in Latvia (+9.8%), while the largest fall was in Spain (-12.8%).
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 0.8% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27 in February 2013, compared with the previous month. Among the Member States for which data are available for February 2013, production in construction fell in three, remained stable in Spain and rose in ten. The decreases were registered in Poland (-3.0%), Germany (-2.7%) and Portugal (-0.8%), and the highest increases in Romania (+5.0%), Slovakia (+4.1%) and Sweden (+3.4%).
LIVE FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION
Building the Single Market for Green Products
On 9 April 2013, the European Commission issued a Communication on Building the Single Market for Green Products. The Communication aims at avoiding additional cost for businesses and promoting green products. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission developed a Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology and an Organisational Environmental Footprint (OEF) methodology for enterprises. These methodologies are intended to apply for all; therefore it hasn’t got a sectoral approach.
Indeed, the Commission’s intention to harmonize the methods calculating the environmental footprint of products is in the interest of our industry. Harmonizing the used indicators can reduce national barriers.
The Commission appears to be careful when imposing the new footprint and it coordinates with CEN TC 350 and with the industry as well. The Communication states that “Where product group-specific rules already exist and are used by stakeholders, the Commission will use these as a basis for the development of the PEFCRs”.
However, BIBM draw the attention to fact, that construction products are intermediary products, therefore the methodology cannot serve for comparing construction products, the environmental footprint should therefore be measured at the building level.
The Commission is currently looking for volunteers to “test” the proposed methods for a three year period. After that three year, the result will be examined and decided the next steps.
Single Market for Green Products - website
Standardised mandatory reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility
On 16 April 2013, the European Commission proposed an amendment to existing accounting legislation in order to improve the transparency of certain large companies on social and environmental matters. The move follows publication in October 2011 of the Commission’s 2011-14 Strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Under the proposal, large companies with more than 500 employees would be required to disclose relevant and material environmental and social information in their annual reports.
The proposal aims at generating higher levels of trust in business on the part of citizens. Indeed, currently there are discussions on mandatory vs. voluntary issue. There is a fear that mandatory reporting would cause additional cost for small and medium businesses. If this is so, a voluntary based, business driven approach might be favourable.
It’s believed that sustainability reporting will help markets function more efficiently and drive European organisations towards government-agreed sustainable development goals. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are currently popular methods, with companies also exploring the use of apps and games to inform investors and customers of their sustainability values and achievements.
In the meantime, the European Parliament took steps to implement the already mentioned Strategy published in October 2011. Own initiative reports have been adopted by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and the Committee on Legal Affairs.
European Commision – Press Release (16/04/2013)
CSR Handbook for SMEs- File
NEWS IN BRIEF
In February 2013 compared with January 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.4% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Euro area annual inflation was 1.7% in March 20132, down from 1.8% in February. A year earlier the rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was 1.2% in March 2013. In March 2013, the lowest annual rates were observed in Greece (-0.2%), Latvia (0.3%) and Sweden (0.5%), and the highest in Romania (4.4%), Estonia (3.8%) and the Netherlands (3.2%).
The Building Performance Institute Europe published a new study on Investing in energy efficiency in Europe’s buildings’. The report finds that the risk of ‘asset depreciation’ on properties is compounded by a lack of data about the energy consumption and carbon footprints of buildings.
The report also states, that “Deep retrofits will be crucial to achieving lasting value”.
Only half of the EU companies surveyed by the BPIE audited their energy use, although this figure is higher than in the US (30%), India (28%) or China (15%). Of those companies which have begun proactive evaluations, four lessons emerge, the report says:
·Deeper retrofits lower the risk of asset depreciation.
·Taking a portfolio approach to managing building stock helps large property owners increase the cost effectiveness of their energy efficiency efforts.
·Retrofitting should be strategic and Europe’s oldest and most inefficient buildings should be renovated first.
·The scale of investment determines the speed of the retrofitting.
EurActiv – article (25 April 2013)
NATIONAL AWARD WINNER
Enghuset, Gistrup, Danemark
Architect Kim Flensburg from architects Nord A / S was honored with the Danish Precast Concrete Award and the famous Utzon-statuet for designing a passive house building, called Enghuset.
Enghuset was built by the association Vanggården for Aalborg Municipality and it serves as a residence for 36 people suffering from schizophrenia.
The building is circular with a likewise circular courtyard. The area is a total of 5,800 square meters.
13 May 2013
15 May 2013
21 May 2013
EAACA Strategic Committee
22 May 2013
23 May 2013
CEPMC Sustainability Working Group
29 May 2013
ECP Board and GA
4 June 2013
CEPMC General Assembly
7 June 2013
ERMCO General Assembly
14 June 2013
BIBM General Assembly
20 June 2013
CEN workshop on PCRs
24-25 June 2013
26 June 2013
CEPMC CPR meeting
28 June 2013
EBC General Assembly