2020 GABC - Global Roadmap 2020-2050

7In 2018, buildings-related CO2 emissions rose for the second year in a row, to an all-time high of 9.7 Gt CO2. Rapid increases in floor area and demand for energy-consuming services are driving this growth, outpacing efficiency improvements and the decarbonisation of electricity and heat. At present, mandatory policies on building and equipment performance cover less than 40% of energy use and less than half the CO2 emissions from buildings.

Progress on building energy codes, in particular, is lagging, as more than two-thirds of the buildings constructed between now and 2050 are expected to be built in countries lacking building energy codes. Decarbonising buildings across the entire life cycle would require a transformation of the buildings and construction sector. Reaching net-zero operational and embodied carbon emission buildings is possible, but requires clear and ambitious policy signals to drive a range of measures including passive building design, material efficiency, low-carbon materials, efficient building envelope measures, and highly efficient lighting and appliances.


This roadmap covers eight “activities”: urban planning, new buildings, existing buildings, building operations, appliances and systems, materials, resilience and clean energy, and for each of these proposes key actions, targets for policies and technologies, and enabling measures with the aspiration of reaching net-zero carbon emission buildings by 2050.

These include:

  1. National roadmaps and strategies set priorities for the sector
  2. Standards and codes gradually drive up performance
  3. Regulatory frameworks to facilitate integrated action
  4. Narratives and engagement to drive demand
  5. Capacity building