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2023-03-28 | Chris Magwood; Tracy Huynh; Victor Olgyay

This report shows how the building industry can bring up-front materials emissions down to zero. It explores our current understanding of cradle-to-gate (CtG) embodied carbon emissions, otherwise known as up-front emissions from materials captured in lifecycle phases A1-A3, in new home construction and the building industry’s ability to mitigate these emissions down to zero (or even to become net carbon storing). We demonstrate how this can be done without any negative repercussions for continuing efforts to bring operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero, providing the market with clear directions for fast, practical, and cost-effective change.

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Architecture 2030

The CARE (Carbon Avoided: Retrofit Estimator) Tool is used for estimating and comparing the embodied, operating, and avoided carbon impacts and benefits of reusing and upgrading existing buildings or replacing them with new construction. The CARE Tool allows users to compare the total carbon impacts of renovating an existing building vs. replacing it with a new one.

The CARE Tool is an Architecture 2030 Project. 

2023-02-07 | Megan Kalsman, Meghan Lewis, Kate Simonen
Carbon Leadership Forum

This document highlights ten case studies of policies driving lower carbon construction across the Pacific Coast. Each case explores the development process, challenges faced, and lessons learned through the policy process. Information was gathered from interviews with PCC members who were involved in the policy, publicly available policy reports, as well as interviews from the implementing agency of the policy.

Download it here

2023-01-12 | Ninni Westerholm
United Nations One Planet Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme

Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world. Unfortunately, current construction in Africa is highly dependent on imported construction materials with high negative environmental impacts. The new SBC publication Unlocking the Potential of Local Circular Materials in Urbanising Africa and video present a building concept for high-density neighbourhoods that promotes the use of responsibly sourced local materials.

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2023-01-06 | Abhas Sinha, Avinash Acharya
Climate Group

With India being the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of steel, any meaningful global shift towards low carbon steelmaking must be based on an understanding of India’s unique context and circumstances. The India Net Zero Steel Demand Outlook Report is an important step in building this understanding as it evaluates the Indian market for net zero steel and the factors that will drive this demand in the decades to come. The report brings out the economic and decarbonisation opportunity available to Indian steel makers today and makes a case for the adoption of low carbon technologies for steel production.

Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Ski Lanka

This report - Sri Lanka Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction 2020 – 2050 - presents the findings of the Sustainable Building Construction Country Assessment for Sri Lanka (SBC-CA) and a Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction and achieving NDCs in the construction industry in Sri Lanka. It examines the current status, and potential opportunities and challenges for adopting Sustainable Building Construction (SBC) practices and policies. The Country Assessment and the Roadmap are structured on the approach laid out by the ‘Global Alliance for Building Construction (GlobalABC) Roadmap for Buildings and Construction 2020-2050, where 8 Action Areas have been identified for the transition towards sustainability in the Construction Sector: Urban planning, New Buildings, Existing Buildings, Building Operations, Appliances and Systems, Materials, Resilience, and Clean Energy.

Download the roadmap here.

2022-11-09 | BPIE, UCL

The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction (Buildings-GSR) is a flagship publication of the UNEP-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC). The Buildings-GSR provides an annual snapshot of the progress of the buildings and construction sector on a global scale and reviews the status of policies, finance, technologies, and solutions to monitor whether the sector is aligned with the Paris Agreement goals. It also provides stakeholders with evidence to persuade policymakers and the overall buildings and construction community to take action.

What is new in the 2022 Buildings-GSR

  • Buildings and construction: disruptions and challenges facing the buildings sector in 2022 
  • Global Building Carbon Tracker: Are we on track towards the Paris Agreement Goals?
  • Updates on building codes and building decarbonisation in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
  • Status of investment in building energy efficiency
  • Deep dive on:
    • Africa (regional focus)
    • Building materials (topical focus)

The 2022 Buildings-GSR finds that 

  • Despite a substantial increase in investment and success at a global level lowering the energy intensity of buildings, the sector’s total energy consumption and CO2 emissions increased in 2021 above pre-pandemic levels. Buildings energy demand increased by around 4% from 2020 to 135 EJ – the largest increase in the last 10 years. CO2 emissions from buildings operations have reached an all-time high of around 10 GtCO2, around a 5% increase from 2020 and 2% higher than the previous peak in 2019. 
  • The buildings and construction sector is not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050. And the gap between the actual climate performance of the sector and the decarbonization pathway is widening.
  • Global energy price volatility and rising interest rates are likely to hamper investment in building decarbonization by governments, households, and businesses. 

Download our 2022 Buildings-GSR and read more!


Watch our video "Is the Buildings and Construction Sector on Track to decarbonize? 2022 Buildings-GSR.

2022-10-13 | Anish Tilak, Connor Usry, and Victor Olgyay

In this report, RMI provides a roadmap for how the US federal government can reduce embodied carbon emissions from public building projects over the next 30 years and outlines strategies for agencies to facilitate the broader movement to decarbonize the building industry and industrial supply chains. The core strategies underpinning the roadmap to zero embodied carbon by 2050 are:

  • A robust Buy Clean procurement program with emissions standards for major building materials and a clear path to increasing the stringency of these targets.
  • Procurement policies that incentivize or require the purchasing of advanced, deeply decarbonized materials for federal projects.
  • Whole-project embodied carbon performance standards to enable holistic benchmarking of federal building projects.
  • A climate-smart portfolio planning framework that captures the embodied carbon value of preservation, renovation, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings.
RMI & China Cement Association

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of cement. The industry accounts for 13 percent of the country’s total carbon emissions, making it the third largest-emitting industry after power and steel. Therefore, decarbonization of this industry is crucial to achieving the country’s goal of carbon neutrality.

This report by RMI and the China Cement Association reviews the industry’s short-, medium-, and long-term decarbonization strategies, technology deployment, and economics within the time frame delineated by China’s decarbonization goals (2020–2060), so as to provide potential guidance for policymakers and market participants.


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.