Built Environment Decarbonization

To meet the Paris Agreement objectives and limit global warming to 1.5˚C compared to pre-industrial levels, we must halve emissions from the built environment by 2030 and fully decarbonize it by 2050. This can only be accomplished through collaboration along the whole value chain. Our Decarbonization workstream helps companies bring about the system transformation required by developing tools, coalitions and a common language.

    The challenge

    The built environment is currently responsible for almost 40% of global energy and process-related CO2 emissions. To achieve full system decarbonization, we need to ensure each company focuses not only on its own emission reduction but also on how they can actively support an overall net-zero transition of buildings. Central to these efforts is achieving net zero for entire buildings across their full life cycle, rather than a siloed approach that detaches products in the system from one another. 

    The business case

    To decarbonize the building system in line with the Paris Agreement, we need a low-carbon business vision and joint action. This workstream offers a platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration that can accelerate the delivery of solutions for achieving net-zero emissions over the lifetime of built structures. The opportunity for businesses lies in developing, disseminating and sharing solutions and best practices.

    The solution

    Our Decarbonization workstream drives alignment and gathers best practices on net-zero solutions in the buildings and construction sector. We bring companies together to overcome value chain fragmentation and to engage with policymakers, finance and civil society. Together, we advocate for actions and policies supporting market transformation toward a net-zero built environment. To reduce total life-cycle emissions of buildings, we develop guidance, metrics, and a common language that can serve as a base for decision-making and collaboration.

    In this context, we have developed the Building System Carbon Framework. The Framework is an assessment tool representing the carbon emissions in the buildings and construction system. It helps companies understand where emissions occur all along the value chain and how they can work together to reduce them through a whole life-cycle approach. The Framework informs all further work to help companies collaborate and to use the influence of demand-side players, such as developers, investors and tenants to drive requirements for a Paris-aligned built environment.

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