Buildings

Pilot testing the SBTi Buildings Guidance and Tool

The SBTi is holding a pilot phase for companies and financial institutions in the buildings value chain to test the Buildings Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance and Tool Drafts for Pilot Testing. The aim of this process is for participants to use their datasets to help identify any possible amendments that need to be made to these resources to inform its applicability across regions and businesses.

Acknowledging the more than 65 applications we received from companies and financial institutions interested in participating, we are now moving on with a thorough review of each submission and will be informing all applicants of the outcome to progress the pilot test with the chosen organizations.

See the terms or reference of the SBTi Buildings Project pilot testing.

Why take action?

The buildings sector is a major contributor of emissions worldwide, accounting for over one third of global energy consumption and emissions.

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

New guidance for the building sector

From May 16 to July 16 2023, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) held a two month-long public consultation for the Buildings Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance and Tool, aiming to inform the development of robust, clear and practical resources that will support building companies in setting 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets.

Acknowledging the comments received, we moved forward with revision of the guidance and tool, which will now undergo a pilot testing process.

Applying best practice in the buildings industry

In 2015, the SBTi developed the Sectoral Decarbonization 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 global warming within a 1.5°C temperature rise, if we are to secure a liveable future for all..

Our new 1.5°C-aligned methodologies, tools and guidance will build on the previous SDA methodology to enable companies to set targets that align with science-based decarbonization pathways. In particular, the SBTi Buildings project aims to achieve three objectives:

  1. Establish a global pathway for buildings’ in-use emissions aligned with 1.5°C
  2. Establish a global pathway for buildings’ embodied emissions aligned with 1.5°C
  3. Issue guidance on emissions accounting and reporting, as well as target setting and validation

By setting emission reduction targets in line with this goal and defining appropriate decarbonization strategies, companies in the building sector can help accelerate the transformation 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

The 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. In collaboration with Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) we are working to provide fully aligned 1.5°C in-use emissions decarbonization pathways for the building sector. This publication has been released by CRREM and the SBTi is working to integrate these pathways into the target-setting tool. In collaboration with Ramboll, the SBTi is working to provide 1.5°C embodied emissions decarbonization pathways for the buildings sector. This publication is expected to be released by Q4 2023.
  • Expert Advisory Group. Composed of technical experts from stakeholder organizations and companies interested in setting science-based targets and contributing to the project execution. The EAG consists of the following:
    • AECOM
    • Aldar Properties
    • APG
    • Arup
    • Better Buildings Partnership (BBP)
    • Bouygues
    • BRE
    • Buro Happold
    • CapitaLand Investment
    • CBRE
    • Climate Bonds Initiative
    • Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW)
    • Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS)
    • European Climate Foundation (ECF)
    • Finance Ideas
    • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB)
    • Green Building Design Group
    • Green Finance Institute
    • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
    • JLL
    • Mitsubishi Estate Co.
    • Multiplex
    • Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF)
    • Ramboll
    • Simon Property Group
    • Skanska
    • Swire Properties
    • The European Network of Construction Companies for Research and Development (ENCORD)
    • University of Regensburg
    • University of Strathclyde
    • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
    • World Green Building Council (WorldGBC)
    • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • General stakeholder consultation. Both industry and non-industry representatives provided feedback on each project component through the public consultation, having 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