Objectives

The main objectives of the SuPerBuildings project have been:

1) To develop a common understanding about the potential of sustainability
assessment and benchmarking methods in progress towards sustainable built
environment

The project has modeled, studied and made conclusions about the usefulness and potential of sustainability assessment and benchmarking methods in different stages and tasks of building processes as well as studying the potential of these methods with regard to different steering mechanisms. The project has considered different steering mechanisms paying attention both to control and regulatory instruments and voluntary mechanisms.

2) To develop indicators for assessing the environmental, social and economic
performance of buildings

The project has made use of the results achieved within ISO TC 59 / SC 17 and CEN TC 350 and the outcomes of recent European projects that have developed outlines for building performance such as PEBBU and LEnSE projects. However, several significant problems were still to be solved and targets to be achieved: a) to create an understanding how to indicate social and economic sustainability of buildings; b) to develop a logical structure for the system, avoid overlapping indicators, ensure that all wanted aspects of sustainable buildings are measured and understand the meaning of all indicators; c) to develop understanding about key performance indicators; d) to develop solutions for the consideration of land use. The project has developed indicators for the environmental, economic and social impacts of a building and described how the indicators of environmental, social and economic performance affect these potential impacts and how the values of indicators are measured. The focus has been on the development of the data validity and reliability of the selected key indicators. The project has also produced knowledge for improved compatibility of data definitions in EU member countries.

3) To develop criteria for the benchmarking and labeling of sustainable buildings
The goal was to develop new information and knowledge about the needed performance levels of new and existing buildings with regard to different aspects of sustainability considering different building types and different local conditions. Another goal was also to consider both minimal required levels and advanced levels of sustainable building. The project has a) collected information about the performance levels of buildings with regard to key performance indicators, and studied how the typical performance levels vary in different European countries, b) developed knowledge about the required levels in order to achieve minimum progress required and significant advance in building stock and built environment in terms of sustainable development, and finally, c) developed rules for normalization and aggregation and criteria for benchmarking in order to enable the comparison of design and building alternatives, and the testing and mobilization of the developed system.

4) To develop recommendations and solutions for the use of the system in different
stages of building process and in steering and building regulation

Voluntary national SB rating systems are in use in some European countries. However, the effect on the advance of sustainable building has not been as big as desired. The big number of different systems also hinders the acceptance and mobilization of the systems in Europe. The project has improved the effective use of sustainable building benchmarking systems. The premise was that the principles of sustainable performance of buildings and the knowledge about the desired performance levels should be known in all stages of building projects and in building maintenance and refurbishment, which are extremely important stages to be considered. Effective tools should support sustainable building and consideration of different aspects of sustainable performance. The project has developed recommendations, practical guidelines and methods for the utilization of sustainability assessment and benchmarking systems in different stages of the overall building process. The project has considered the following stages: target setting, design, construction and tendering processes, building maintenance and renovation.

In addition, the project has also proposed solutions for the integration of sustainability assessment systems with building information models (BIMs) in order to enable effective design for sustainable buildings and management of sustainable building information in all stages of building process. The project has described how the integration should happen, so that sustainable building assessment and benchmarking could be included in the different stages of BIM in order to support target setting, design for sustainable building, sustainable maintenance and decision making in processes of procurement and investment. The project has also produced guidelines to support further development of existing BIM software.

The project has deepened the understanding about the efficiency and potential of sustainability benchmarking systems as instruments of steering. On the basis of this understanding, the project has developed recommendations for the use of these systems with a specific emphasis on steering with the help of economic incentives and on the use of indicators in early stages of building processes.

5) To disseminate the results for standardization bodies, policy makers and
construction professionals, and encourage the development of new sustainable
building services
The project has cooperated with relevant standardization bodies and existing relevant standardization committees in order to disseminate the results of the project to be considered in the development of new standards and improvement of existing sustainable building standards.

The project has also collaborated with both national and European policy makers. The project has based its work on the understanding about the policy targets and trends and found out the detailed needs and expectations with the help of interviews and common workshops. The project has introduced the outcomes that explain the potential of sustainable building benchmarking and labeling methods in sustainable building steering and regulation, listened to feedback and aimed at helpful results.

In addition, the project has collaborated with construction professionals in order to understand the current difficulties and barriers in making use of sustainable building methods and in order to support the adoption of sustainable building assessment and benchmarking methods in the different stages of building process. In order to enable effective dissemination of the project outcomes, the project has established a NETWORK GROUP consisting of users.

Finally, the project has effectively used the following routes in order to disseminate the results: European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP), Sustainable Building Alliance (SBA), iiSBE and UNEP, Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI). The partners of the project involved in the Sustainable Building Alliance (SBA) have transferred the project results to the SBA technical committee. The overall objective of this harmonizing downstream activity is to define a standardized core of indicators that will enable comparisons of performances between the different building assessment systems currently in use in the market (BREEAM, DGNB certificate, HQE, PromisE, ITACA, etc.). This will remarkably broaden the number of beneficiaries.