Reducing embodied carbon in construction materials: RE2020 in France

  • Success Story
  • France
  • Buildings, Industry

In France, up to 90% of a new building’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated during the construction and demolition phases. A new regulation, called RE2020, sets a cap on those emissions. With a phase-in period followed by tighter caps over time, the French government aims to trigger a progressive transformation of the whole construction value chain towards the production and use of low-carbon building materials.

When looking at the whole life cycle of new and energy-efficient buildings in France, most of the emissions, 60%-90%, are generated during the construction and demolition phases. The share of emissions during operation is small, as new buildings consume little energy from mostly low-carbon sources. The RE2020 regulation introduces new building requirements that aim to reduce emissions related to construction materials over the building’s lifetime, including its demolition.  RE2020 goes beyond reducing and decarbonising the energy use of a building - it also aims to foster low-carbon and sustainable construction materials. For the buildings sector in France, this regulation is an important step towards contributing its share to the national goal of decarbonising all sectors by 2050.

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