The future of circular environmental impact indicators for cultural heritage buildings in Europe

Gillian Joanne Foster, Halliki Kreinin, Sigrid Stagl

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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The European building and construction sector is extremely resource-intensive. This makes the renovation of existing buildings, including the adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings (ARCH), important for reducing the materials and energy intensity of the sector. Currently, Europe is embarking on a Circular Economy (CE) strategy that directly affects the environmental indicators for buildings and landscapes, including ARCH. However, there is a misalignment between macro-level European CE policy goals and micro-level renovation and management of existing buildings and ARCH. The analysis shows that macro European Union-level indicators are too narrowly defined to effectively guide the implementation of CE at the micro-project level for ARCH.

This policy study develops a comprehensive ARCH Circular Environmental Impact Indicator Framework to close this gap by: (1) defining the research question; (2) identifying the causal network; and (3) selecting the best indicators. The study compares Circular Environmental Indicators for ARCH projects to current and developing European management schemes. Best practices in environmental impact assessment at the project level are highlighted for the building and construction sector in Europe.

The proposed new framework is a comprehensive and suitable list of explicitly circular environmental indicators for ARCH. The framework has immediate practical applications for practitioners and policymakers interested in the CE regime for buildings in Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 17
JournalEnvironmental Sciences Europe
Issue number141
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 507014 Regional development
  • 107
  • 507018 Urban and village renewal
  • 201

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