ENVIRONMENT COST INDICATOR
In the last few years, there has been an increase in the need for objective and transparent environment information on use of materials. Not only as a result of the obligation set out in the Buildings Decree to calculate the material-related environmental impact of new buildings, but also due to the government’s sustainable procurement policy – both in the Residential & Non-residential building sector as well as in infrastructure – and due to sustainability labels such as BREEAM and LEED.
Insight into the environmental performance of products
The basis for determining the environmental impact is a life cycle analysis (LCA) in accordance with the national method of determining the environmental performance of buildings and civil and hydraulic engineering works. To identify which products least impact the environment, the environmental impact must be determined for all (service life) phases of the product – from the beginning to the end of the life cycle.
ECI: Environmental impact expressed in shadow price
In the Netherlands, this environmental impact is then translated into shadow prices in Euro (prevention costs). These are fictitious costs that would have to be made to restore the negative environmental impact. The results are then summed up to a single figure, the so-called environment cost indicator (ECI).
By expressing the environmental impact in terms of ‘money’ and by summing it up to a single figure, it is possible to compare products with each other. Moreover, it enables clients to choose the product with the lowest environmental impact. By allowing the environment cost indicator score to be taken into account for tendering procedures, governments can achieve their sustainability objectives.
The outcome is an environmental profile: a collection of all the important environmental effects, including climate change (CO2 emissions), contribution to the greenhouse effect, and depletion of raw materials.