Skyscrapers under construction with construction cranes. Copyright by C Dustin on Unsplash.

Federal building criteria apply the Austrian Ecolabel

In Austria, the federal government spends almost 1.3 billion euros a year on building construction projects. The money flows into the refurbishment, new construction, repair and maintenance of schools, hospitals, prisons and other public buildings. The construction-relevant guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel play an important role here!

In June 2021, all Austrian federal ministries committed to using this considerable amount only for building construction projects that fulfil the criteria of the Austrian Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement, or naBe criteria for short. The naBe criteria for building construction (there are naBe criteria for a further 15 product groups) can essentially be divided into two groups:

  • For new construction and comprehensive refurbishment, enough criteria of the klimaaktiv building certification system must be implemented to achieve at least the klimaaktiv silver standard, i.e. a score of at least 750 points. One of the klimaaktiv criteria, for which a maximum of 50 points can be achieved, is the use of building products that have been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel, nature plus or the IBO test mark.
  • Only naBe-compliant building materials may be used for all construction work in which building materials are used for which naBe criteria exist - there are naBe criteria for a total of 21 building material groups, e.g. paints, floor coverings, installation materials. These are characterised by their low pollutant content. The Austrian Action Plan provides an overview of the environmental and test marks that can be used to easily recognise naBe-compliant building materials. These include the Austrian Ecolabel, Blue Angel, EU Ecolabel, nature plus and IBO test mark.

At the beginning of 2023, a revision process of the naBe criteria for building construction was launched, involving representatives of the ministries as well as other stakeholders and construction experts. In this process, further naBe criteria will be developed to reflect the topics of climate change adaptation and circular construction even more strongly in the future. Among other things, the mandatory recultivation of the high-quality soils resulting from the construction project, the use of CO2-reduced concretes and the utilisation-oriented dismantling by social economy companies are also being discussed here.

Furthermore, the current changes to the criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel for construction products are naturally also taken into account and integrated into the criteria.