The construction sector is crucial to EU environmental and energy policies, as buildings are responsible for approximately 40 % of the total annual EU energy consumption and generate 36% of the greenhouse gases produced in Europe. Procurement of eco-innovation would provide support to the innovation competences of firms in this sector. Supporting local communities would be the societal benefit of responsible purchasing, but small municipalities often lack green public procurement expertise. As construction materials have a large impact on the environment, Baubook was created as an eco-innovative solution to this problem.
Baubook GmbH began with a first list of ecological products for the construction sector in 2001 and was very successful. The service includes an online tool offering different databases for ecological building products, green public procurement guidelines and specific technical specifications, supporting technology adopters in this field. This comprehensive resource lists environmental and energy-efficient criteria, and includes the substitution of hazardous materials or eco-innovative insulation solutions. The portal became a regular benchmarking for the built environment, thus providing advice to procurers. Baubook can be consulted for free.
Why did it work?
The City of Vienna commissioned the project together with an industry cluster, and in 2008 Baubook became the largest German-speaking platform for renovating and constructing in a sustainable and energy efficient way. Baubook provides information about materials, products and processes, but allows as well for manufacturers to declare new eco-innovative products on the platform for a fee. This announcement must follow quality criteria which are provided and will be published only after review. In particular, chargeable services target planners, architects and public procurers allowing for a tailor-made search of a particular construction project.
Baubook represents a promising example for promoting eco-innovation by facilitating up-take and dissemination of more sustainable processes and products. This policy is supported by public entities such as the Federal State of Vorarlberg and the Federal Ministries, as well as the very successful public procurement initiative „Ökokauf Wien“. Seminars, events and interactive activities with the many partners also help with raising consumer awareness as regards sustainable living. Plans are in place to introduce Baubook to other countries, qualifying it for an estimated level 7 on the generic maturity scale GML.
 Generic Maturity Level: indicator for readiness of transfer of a certain process; following the scale of technology readiness (http://www.esto.nasa.gov/files/TRL_definitions.pdf). The given value was estimated by the authors.