Why take action?

Buildings account for 37% of today's global CO2 emissions when both operational emissions and embodied emissions of materials are taken into account.

Of this, around 3 Gt CO2e are direct emissions; a further 9.8 Gt CO2e are indirect emissions from electricity and heat consumption; and a further 3.5 Gt CO2e from materials.

Floor area is set to grow approximately 75% over 2020-2050, meaning CO2 emissions will rise dramatically if no decarbonization efforts are made in the sector.

Applying best practice in the buildings industry

In 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) developed the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA), a scientifically-informed method for companies to set GHG reduction targets necessary to stay within a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. This led to the development of a 2°C and a well-below 2°C pathway.

However, the Paris Agreement and the recent IPCC 6th Assessment Report have highlighted the need to keep warming within a 1.5°C temperature rise.

Our new methodologies, tools and guidance will build on the previously developed SDA methodology for buildings to develop 1.5°C-aligned resources. They will enable companies to set targets that align with science-based decarbonization pathways within the unique context of their sector.

By setting emission reduction targets in line with this goal and defining appropriate decarbonization strategies, companies in the building sector can help accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Funding for this project has been provided by the Laudes Foundation.

Project participants

SBTi is the project lead, manager and convening agent. Participating in this project is possible via the following groups:

  • Technical partners. Composed of representatives of non-profit organizations and academia, will co-develop project deliverables, participate in decision-making discussions and be recognized as co-authors in the final deliverables.
  • Expert Advisory Group. Composed of technical experts from stakeholder organisations and companies interested in setting an SBT and contributing to the project execution.
  • General stakeholder consultation. Both industry and non-industry representatives will be able to provide feedback on each project component through workshops and webinars. The project lead will ensure a balanced participation of stakeholder categories.

Development process

The project will have the following 6 broad steps:

  1. Scoping study
  2. Update of target-setting pathways and tool
  3. Development of sector-specific criteria and target-validation protocol
  4. Development of guidance documents
  5. Integration of requirements on accountability and tracking progress
  6. Knowledge sharing and capacity building

To socialize the resources developed as part of this project, we envision joint capacity building activities, including webinars and/or workshops.

Provisional project timeline


Coming soon.


  • Bashar Al Shawa, Technical Manager, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]

  • Karl Downey, Senior Technical Manager, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]

  • Aamir Khan, Project Officer, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]