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ASHRAE & U.S. Department of Energy

The newly released Building Performance Standards (BPS): A Technical Resource Guide was created to provide a technical basis for policymakers, building owners, practitioners and other stakeholders interested in developing and implementing a BPS policy. The first in a series of seven guidebooks by ASHRAE on building decarbonization, this guide focuses on reducing building operating energy use and resulting emissions in existing commercial and multifamily buildings, as established by leading U.S. cities and states. Jointly developed by ASHRAE, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its national laboratories, the BPS guide is meant to provide the information needed to make informed policy design decisions that drive deeper existing building decarbonization and provide equitable outcomes for all involved.

2022-11-10 | Stéphane Quefelec
European Environment Agency

This briefing by the European Environment Agency explores the nexus between climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the health and social justice aspects of cooling Europe’s buildings. It focuses specifically on residential buildings. The briefing is based on a literature review by Ramboll commissioned by the EEA, discussions held with members of the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet), input from individual experts and information from other EEA publications.

Read the briefing here



The EU-funded project BUS-GoCircular has developed two tools to stimulate demand for skills in circular construction. These are a policy guidance brief and a slide deck of training material. Both documents are aimed at public authorities in local and regional governments and seek to boost demand for skilled energy efficiency professionals in the construction sector.

The policy guidance brief, written by project partner ICLEI Europe, highlights good practices and replicable examples across Europe to raise awareness among practitioners and policymakers about their ability to promote a more circular construction sector and upskill professionals. It also highlights the various levers at their disposal to support this transition.

The training material aims to help public procurers and policymakers better understand how they can stimulate demand for circular construction skills through public procurement. This slide deck can be used as a self-learning tool, with links to other resources to learn more about the topic. It can also be used and adapted as needed to help to raise awareness among colleagues and partners on how they can promote circular construction skills.

Download the policy guidance brief here and the training material here!

2023-03-21 | Miles Rowland, Audrey Nugent, Stephen Richardson
World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Europe Regional Network (ERN) has released a policy briefing which provides detailed guidance on Whole Life Carbon (WLC) reporting and target setting in the built environment.

Buildings account for around 40% of energy consumption and 36% of carbon emissions in Europe, which includes both the operational carbon of buildings from when they are in use, as well as the carbon impact of the manufacturing, transportation, construction, and end-of-life phases of built assets, often called embodied carbon. Meeting the EU Green Deal’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 will require policymakers to introduce measures that address the Whole Life Carbon (WLC) impact, both operational and embodied carbon, of buildings.

WorldGBC’s policy briefing gives recommendations on how the European Commission and EU member states should implement three key aspects of WLC policy when it is formally introduced into key legislation such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

The three main sections of the paper cover recommendations on how to harmonise and standardise WLC reporting, plus how to define the physical scope of a building for WLC assessments, and how to construct WLC targets (known as the ‘architecture’ of WLC targets).

Download the policy briefing!

2022-09-19 | Gautam Nagar, Shatakshi Suman

GBPN, in collaboration with a group of experts from India, has prepared a report assessing the current state of building policies in India to develop an understanding of the way forward in terms of achieving zero carbon emissions in the building sector.

There are a number of the guidelines, codes, schemes & programmes in India to improve the building sector's energy consumption levels in India which align to the country’s National commitments. However, there are a number of strategies that could be adopted to improve their implementation like improvement in administra- tion processes, creating incentives, revising and ensuring implementation feasibility and more. Such strategies can help address national issues like water efficiency, energy efficiency, fossil fuel use, consumer waste and natural resource use while also enhancing occupant health, productivity, and wellbeing.


The current Commission proposal does not go far enough in addressing operational and embodied carbon emissions on building lifecycle global warming potential (lifecycle-GWP), often referred to as Whole Life Carbon (WLC). Deploying WLC measures in the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) recast will be a win-win for energy performance and climate action at the building and industry level. Therefore, a stepwise approach and a clear timeline that go beyond 2030 needs to be set out in the EPBD recast.

Read the policy brief here. 

2022-08-30 | Sheikh Zuhaib

This X-tendo briefing provides recommendations on how to take EPC schemes to the nect level and is targeted at policymakers at EU and Member State level, public authorities and institutions responsible for their design, implementation and management.

2022-07-15 | Ryan Colker, Diana Fisler, Lucas Toffoli, Alyssa Watson
Advanced Building Construction Collaborative

The highly fragmented current building code landscape and regulatory barriers hinder the adoption and scaling of advanced building construction practices, including off-site construction. In 2021, the International Code Council (ICC) and Modular Building Institute (MBI) created Standards 1200 and 1205 to reduce complexity of codes and improve code implementation and enforcement on off-site construction, off-site manufacturers, contractors, and officials who need clearer compliance pathways.  

This brief focuses on problems in the current code reality and details how these new standards can address barriers to more efficient, off-site construction that can support lower-carbon buildings. The work incorporates valuable elements and insights from members of the ABC Collaborative Working Group on Codes, Standards, Permitting, Testing, and Accreditation. 


The prevailing narrative influencing policymaking at EU level on energy and climate is that this transition will naturally lead to negative social impacts, which need to be managed and mitigated. However, this can and should be questioned. Is it true that the energy transition and, more specifically, building decarbonisation policies have, by default, negative social impacts? Is it true that the only strategy or solution is to mitigate them?

Alternative narratives, which highlight that there are both negative and positive implications from building decarbonisation measures, should be considered. It should be the goal of good policy design to ensure that positive impacts prevail, and ultimately it is the responsibility of policymakers to achieve this objective. Energy and climate policies, notably in the buildings sector, should aim at maximising positive social impacts and preventing negative ones, then minimising any negative impacts that are unavoidable. This discussion is crucial now, as the EU is reassessing and redesigning the architecture of its energy and climate policy framework, in a context of high energy prices and volatile markets – a context which needs special attention to respond to social impacts.

Download the policy briefing below.

2022-07-01 | Beverley Cornaby and Sanna Markkanen, with support from Eliot Whittington, Serena Liuni and Isabelle Cross
University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The UK is in the midst of dual crises, with a cost-of-living crisis adding to the climate crisis. Both of these crises disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable in society, who also have fewest resources to cope with changing circumstances. It is vital we tackle both crises with the urgency they require. Policy measures to address the cost-of-living crisis can be just as, if not more, effective when designed to align with the UK’s net zero target. An aligned approach to addressing the cost-of-living crisis and decarbonisation challenge could create win–wins for the UK economy.

Read the policy briefing here