New EUBUCCO database can provide information on more than 200 million buildings in Europe
A new Europe-wide database covering the 27 countries of the European Union and Switzerland has now been created by a team of researchers led by the scientific coordinator of the Climate Change Center Berlin Brandenburg, Prof. Dr. Felix Creutzig (Technische Universität Berlin). The highly relevant data were published in Scientific Data (Nature Portfolio).
“The climate-neutral management of real estate is a local and global problem for which there must be reliable, easily usable and openly accessible datasets,” a lead author of the study, Nikola Milojevic-Dupont (TU Berlin) explains. “Even for Europe, where the best data worldwide exist, it was difficult to find and use data from several countries together, because they originate from mostly uncoordinated efforts. Thus, this wealth of data has barely been used in sustainability studies so far, which we believe is a huge missed opportunity.” Co-lead author Felix Wagner (TU Berlin) adds: “We have now collected, analyzed and harmonized the four important characteristics of buildings – building footprint, type, height and year of construction.” To do this, the team analyzed 50 open government datasets and OpenStreetMap data. The result is the EUBUCCO v0.1 database, which can be used for high-resolution urban sustainability studies on a continental, comparative, or local scale using one central source. Users can explore and download the data on a dedicated website: www.eubucco.com.
In regional planning, high-resolution data on building stock can be used to study several important issues. They are necessary to predict the future need for new buildings as well as the potential need for deconstruction in areas with declining populations. The composition and dynamics of the building stock can also serve as a basis for predicting material runoff, either as waste or as raw material for the construction of new buildings. In turn, in energy and climate policy, spatially resolved data on the extent and condition of the building stock is useful for modeling energy demand scenarios and climate change mitigation measures aimed at reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. This information can be used in risk models for natural hazards or economic damage functions related to climate change.
The economic value of global real estate assets has been estimated at $327 trillion in 2020, nearly four times the global gross domestic product. Built infrastructure makes up the largest part of a society’s physical stock. In particular, construction and maintenance of buildings account for half of the world’s resource consumption. Buildings also account for a significant share of global final energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, 31 and 21 percent, respectively, in 2019.
“High-resolution data on building stock can support climate policy for cities and regions. For example, high resolution building data can guide retrofitting strategies of cities like Berlin,” Prof. Dr. Felix Creutzig, Professor of Economics of Sustainability in Human Settlements at TU Berlin, explains. “The building sector can thus effectively contribute to a climate-neutral society.”
Further information: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-023-02040-2