Sustainable construction: regulation and solutions

Achieving a healthy planet depends on all of us. Taking care of and protecting the environment is our duty as a society. Together we work to bring nature back into our lives, homes and cities.

Public Administration and governments have an increasing concern for the environment, which is reflected in the promotion of sustainable, pleasant and accessible living spaces (New European Bauhaus). By 2030, all United Nations member states aim to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Paris Agreement stipulates that, in order to curb global warming, we need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Besides, climate change declarations are no longer an option and are increasingly regulated by the law. Nations are demanding environmental certificates, such as BREEAM and LEED, for new buildings.

The European Union emphasizes the importance of buildings in energy policy, as the construction sector accounts for 40% of energy consumption. Along the same lines, the European Commission insists (Recommendations (EU) 2016/13184) on the specific objective of near-zero energy buildings (nZEB). It also declares that the energy they require should come, in “very significant proportion”, from renewable energy sources, especially on-site. Within this emissions reduction framework, the European Union insists (Recommendations (EU) 2016/13183 and subsequent Directive (EU) 2018/844) on the need and commitment to establish a sustainable and competitive decarbonized energy system by 2050.

Regulation on climate change

  • Objetive 55. The EU plan for the ecological transition

A set of proposals aimed at reviewing and updating EU legislation and launching new initiatives in order to ensure that EU policies are in line with the climate objectives agreed by the Council and the European Parliament. The objective of this series of proposals is to provide a coherent and balanced framework for achieving the EU’s climate objectives that is equitable and socially fair. This ensures EU leadership in the global fight against climate change.

  • European Green Deal

The 27 EU Member States have committed themselves to making the EU the first climate neutral zone by 2050. To achieve this, emissions are to be reduced by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels: reduce emissions; create jobs and growth; address energy poverty; reduce energy dependence on external sources; improve our health and well-being.

The European Green Deal seeks to transform the EU economy towards a more sustainable future.
  • Social Climate Fund

The new Social Climate Fund will support EU citizens most affected by or exposed to energy or mobility poverty. It will help mitigate costs for those populations most exposed to the changes, ensuring a fair transition that leaves no one behind.

In addition to housing, public buildings should also be renovated to increase renewable energy production and improve energy efficient.

Regulation on air quality

• Directive 2018/410 of the European Parliament and the Council to step up emission reductions effectively and ease investments in low-carbon technologies

Emission reductions are being economically incentivized. Since the emission allowance has an economic value, by reducing emissions the regulated entities are reducing their costs. To achieve the European Union’s emissions reduction target of at least 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990, the sectors included in the trading system must achieve a combined emissions reduction of 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Two new funds have also been created: the Modernisation Fund and the Innovation Fund, aimed at financing the transition to a low-carbon economy. The Innovation Fund will encourage the development of new technologies by granting aid for the construction of large scale pre-commercial demonstration projects. Four main areas of action will be considered: innovative renewable energies, energy storage, industry decarbonization and CO2 capture and storage or use. Over the course of its life, this fund is expected to distribute more than 10 billion euros to the selected projects. For its part, the Modernization Fund is a tool only accessible to countries with a per capita GDP of less than 60% of the European Union average, and must be used to modernize the energy systems of these countries.

Different regulations related to air quality seek to provide states with a legal framework that allows them to achieve a greener future.

• Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner atmosphere for Europe

Respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies are related to air pollution, both indoor and outdoor. These illnesses have increased over the last decades throughout Europe, reaching approximately 10% of the child population. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) in particular have serious effects on human health and the environment. To address this problem, the EU Directive 2008/50/EC on Ambient Air Quality came into effect in 2010, introducing limit values to protect both health and the environment. The annual limit value for NO2 is set at 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Regulation on circular economy

• Circular Economy Action Plan

Pursuing the efforts initiated in 2015, the European Commission has recently adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan, which is one of the main elements included in the European Green Pact. The Plan includes initiatives throughout the entire life cycle of products and aims to promote the generalization of circular economy processes, thereby managing to promote sustainable consumption.

With this new Plan the European Commission aims to: make sustainable products the norm in the EU; empower consumers and public authorities; focus on the most resource-intensive sectors and where the potential for circularity is highest; ensure a reduction of waste generation; make circularity efficient for people, regions and cities; lead global circular economy efforts.

Regulation on energy efficiency

  • Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings

It aims to improve the energy performance of buildings in the European Union (EU), taking into account various climatic and local conditions. It sets out minimum requirements and a common framework for calculating energy performance. The main objective is to accelerate the economically profitable renovation of existing buildings and the promotion of smart technologies in buildings.

Since 2010, national European regulations approve the basic procedures for certifying the energy efficiency of buildings.

Graphenstone: paints aimed at sustainable construction

Graphenstone is the leader in the development and manufacturing of natural paints and coatings. Our unique products combine artisanal lime with graphene technology. The company’s philosophy and objective is to create building materials that respect the environment and people’s health.

Our project is completely focused on sustainable construction, always maintaining circular economy principles. Our commitment to the environment is based on premium coatings with different specifications that meet the diverse needs of local councils, architects and construction companies in relation to sustainable building:

  • High reflectance paints that improve energy efficiency, reducing the energy demand of buildings.
A paint with a high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) reduces the exterior surface temperature of a building by 30-40%.
  • Natural paints that, in addition to being highly breathable and providing excellent coverage, also absorb CO2, such as Ecosphere Premium and Biosphere Premium.

  • Paints with a photocatalytic effect, such as AmbientPro + Premium, which reduce air pollutants.

  • Paints such as Proshield Premium which, through a shielding effect, offer lasting protection against high and low frequency electromagnetic radiation.
Graphenstone paints provide unique solutions to the needs of sustainable construction projects.

The perfect mix of tradition + innovation makes the most advanced ecological coating solution on the market: Ecological and natural products, breathable, CO2 absorbing, free of microplastics and harmful substances, free of VOC and formaldehyde emissions, odor free.

The most certified green paint brand in the world

Our commitment to sustainability and the environment is accredited by the strictest and most internationally recognized certificates and quality labels. We are proud to say that Graphenstone is the most certified green paint company globally.

Main certifications of Graphenstone products.

We aim to contribute to the people’s wellbeing through the construction sector while we stablish ourselves as a referent for other companies by meeting the requirements of ecological and sustainable construction. For us, innovation and sustainability go side by side.

Environmental assessment and certification methods for sustainable buildings, such as BREEAM, LEED or WELL are leading the regulation of efficient construction nowadays. The benefits of certifying a sustainable building include: higher profitability for those who build, operate and/or maintain the building; reduction of its environmental impact; and greater comfort and health for those who live, work or inhabit the building.

In this scenario, paints and coatings are one of the most economical and simplest way to improve the green certification of a building. Graphenstone products contribute to certifications by providing the highest scores in the categories in which they qualify: indoor environment quality, comfort, health and well-being, use of low environmental impact materials, innovation or energy efficiency.

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