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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EU and Sustainability: Green Architecture


Green Architecture

Making buildings more environmentally friendly is becoming essential to fighting climate change. Many resources go into the creation and maintenance of a building, so it is important to choose the right resources that will not further damage the environment. 


Did you Know?

40% of total EU energy consumption is used by the building sector

36% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings


The EU has implemented the Green Buildings Pact which aims to create and make more climate friendly buildings by improving insulation and energy efficiency. The pact's overall goal is to double the rate of building renovations by 2030, meaning 35 million buildings will be renovated across the EU. 



In 2015, France's parliament passed a law that requires new buildings in commercial zones to be partially covered in solar panels or plants.


Examples of Green Buildings across the EU

Sonnenschiff (Sun Ship), Germany - a mixed-use residential and commercial building which produces 4 times the energy it consumes. 



Cube, Germany - Considered one of the smartest buildings in the world, the Cube uses a double skin façade which  helps maintain a steady internal temperature. The Cube also uses natural air ventilations systems and a heat reclamation system. 

1 Angel Square, UK - A building with a double skin façade that minimizes heating and cooling throughout the year. Has features including a rainwater collection system which provides water to the building, geothermal earth tubing which circulate fresh air, and a heat recovery system which harvests heat from IT systems to heat the building. 


Green building - A collection of articles related to green building. The articles discuss various aspects of green building practices and policies, such as energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and sustainable construction materials.

Green Building Companies (Environmental Management) in Europe - A directory of Green Building companies in Europe on the Environmental Expert website. The directory includes a list of companies offering environmental management services related to Green Building practices, such as sustainable design, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building materials, and indoor air quality.

Green! Architects - Green Architects is an architectural firm based in Italy that specializes in sustainable architecture and eco-design. The firm's philosophy is based on the principles of environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and innovation.

European Policy - The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) provides information about European policies and regulations related to green building and sustainable construction. The IGBC is a non-profit organization that aims to promote sustainable and low-carbon building practices in Ireland.

World Green Building Council - The Europe Regional Network page of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is a global network of national Green Building Councils (GBCs). The WorldGBC is a non-profit organization that aims to promote sustainable and green building practices worldwide.

The EU green buildings plan aims to slash emissions - but this European country isn’t happy

Glossary/Research Terms

Green Architecture - An approach to building design and construction that focuses on minimizing the environmental impact of buildings and promoting sustainable living

Energy efficiency - The practice of designing buildings and systems that use less energy to perform the same functions.

Renewable energy - Energy derived from sources that are naturally replenished, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower.

Green roofs - A roof that is partially or completely covered with vegetation, which can help reduce energy consumption, absorb rainwater, and improve air quality.

Solar power - Energy generated from the sun, which can be converted into electricity through the use of solar panels.

Passive design - A design strategy that focuses on using natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, and natural ventilation, to regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption.

Biophilic design - A design strategy that incorporates elements of nature, such as plants, water features, and natural materials, into the built environment to improve the health and well-being of occupants.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) - A rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings.

Net-zero energy - A building or system that produces as much energy as it consumes over a specified period of time.

Sustainable materials - Materials that are produced using environmentally friendly processes and are designed to have a minimal impact on the environment.

Natural ventilation - The use of natural air movement to regulate temperature and improve indoor air quality.

Daylighting - The use of natural light to illuminate the interior of a building, which can help reduce energy consumption and improve the health and well-being of occupants.

Geothermal energy - Energy derived from the heat of the earth, which can be used to heat and cool buildings.

Sustainable site design - The practice of designing outdoor spaces in a way that preserves natural resources, promotes biodiversity, and minimizes environmental impact.

Life cycle assessment - A comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of a product, process, or building throughout its entire life cycle.

Cradle-to-cradle design - A design philosophy that emphasizes the use of materials that can be reused or recycled indefinitely, with no waste or pollution.