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Sustainable solutions are a topic in many projects, but the accompanying certification is not known well

Sustainability has been high on the agenda of many companies in the construction sector for many years now. Construction is one of the sectors that substantially contribute to both pollution and depletion of resources. All the more reason for players in the field of construction to find ways to reduce this. Throughout the years, the topic of sustainability has gained importance and is now reckoned with when deciding on materials to be used for instance. One way of increasing the sustainability of construction projects is to use sustainability certificates, but to what extent are architects familiar with these certificates? That is one of the questions answered in the European Architectural Barometer report, of which the theme topic is sustainability and circularity. This report is based on USP Marketing Consultancy’s research among architectural companies in 8 European countries.

Sustainable solutions are a topic in many projects, but the accompanying certification is not known well
European Architectural Barometer Q4 2020 – USP Marketing Consultancy

Although sustainability is playing an important role in construction projects, the willingness to invest is lacking

Ever more architects in European countries experience that sustainability is an important topic in the meetings they have with principals of their projects. Be that as it may, sustainability is not getting the attention you would expect, especially when demand for sustainable solutions is high but the Willingness to invest in sustainability is low. Over the years sustainability is more of a topic of debate and sustainable solutions, like using sustainable materials, are considered more often, but principals’ willingness to invest in these seems to be lagging behind. 

Certification can be of influence, but certificates are not known well

Certifications can be of great influence in clarifying the concept of sustainability. Principals are open to sustainable solutions, and even demand them, but the fact that people are unfamiliar with the possible gains of those solutions leads to a low willingness to invest in them. Certification can help here. By proving that used materials have been produced in a sustainable way, or that solutions contribute to the sustainability of a building, certification can help principals trust in sustainable solutions. It can guarantee to principals that every Euro spent is actually contributing to making their project more sustainable. Despite their added value, these certifications are relatively unknown. Only a small share of European architects can name sustainability certificates, and a vast majority does not know any spontaneously. The ambiguous understanding of sustainability causes significant action towards more sustainable construction to be lacking. The relative unfamiliarity with various sustainability certificates used in construction is but another example of that. 

For more detailed information at country level we refer you to the European Architectural Barometer Q4 2020: Sustainability & Circularity