Rehap aims to develop bio-residue based materials to achieve low embodied energy, and energy- and cost-efficient building solutions as the building sector accounts for 40 per cent of total energy use. The project will also look to reduce the energy use in the process industry by 30-50 per cent.

Sustainable patterns of consumption and production

The new processes that will be developed by the Rehap project will facilitate a significant step towards the rationalised use of natural resources and so will help European countries reach the three priorities of the Europe 2020 Strategy (EC communication, March 2010). These three priorities are:

1) Smart growth through the development of an economy based on knowledge and innovation

2) Sustainable growth promoting a resource-efficient, green and more competitive economy

3) Inclusive growth fostering a high-employment economy

The Rehap project has been designed to have a direct impact on these strategies in several ways. The only raw materials to be used as resource inputs are two extensive and undervalued by-products of the current European economy (resource efficiency), which will be converted into high-performance materials (innovative and competitive economy). The technologies that will be developed for such transformation are based on state-of-the-art knowledge (economic development based on knowledge), such as selective fractionation and low-energy production of lignocellulosic materials, which are based on strict ecological approaches – biorefinery and green chemistry (green economy).

Rehap will contribute to a range of policies that are in place to improve the energy and environmental performance of products. The Ecodesign (EuP) Directive, for example, establishes a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for energy-using products.

A number of other pieces of legislation address specific aspects of the lifecycle of products, such as waste:

  • Labelling schemes developed by member states, retailers and other economic operators, provide consumers with information on the energy and environmental performance of products.
  • Incentives and public procurement are being implemented by member states to stimulate the better performance of products.
  • The legislation and labelling schemes stress that it is important to look at the performance of a product over its entire life cycle.

The solutions to be developed by Rehap will take a life-cycle perspective into account and will lead to a more sustainable building industry.