News & Events

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.

A common Carbon language for all

Share this Post:
The world's leading green building organisations have reached a ground-breaking agreement to adopt a common global language for the measurement of the carbon footprint of buildings. The 'common carbon metric' will be piloted by the leading green building rating tools, and made available to all those who are dedicated to promoting the understanding and development of a green, low-carbon and sustainable built environment. The metric is recognised by the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative, and will be highlighted before decision-makers at the conference in Copenhagen in December.

Just weeks ahead of COP15 in Copenhagen, this is a critical and timely step that will enable the world to realise the unparalleled, cost-effective carbon mitigation potential of buildings, which account for around 40% of the world's energy use and 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Donna McIntire, Program Officer for Buildings and Climate Change, the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative (SBCI) said: "UNEP is delighted to represent the importance of this work in Copenhagen through its Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative to support the critical role of buildings in reducing carbon emissions. Common metrics are the keys to consistent measurement and reporting of performance - opening the door for flexible mechanisms and entry into the carbon market. This agreement around the common carbon metric is timely and poised to transform the building sector to a position of true leadership for the development of a sustainable built environment."

Tony Arnel, Chair of the World Green Building Council said: "The significance of this agreement should not be underestimated. The coming together of so many leading green building organisations is unprecedented and appropriate at this critical moment in the world's response to the global challenge of climate change. Buildings account for a third of global carbon emissions and as the IPCC has demonstrated, provide by far the most cost-effective carbon reduction potential. The World GBC is delighted to have been able to play a part in this historic development and to welcome BREEAM to work in partnership with the family of leading rating tools operated by Green Building Councils."

Alfonso Ponce, Secretary of the Sustainable Building Alliance (SB Alliance) said: "This represents an important moment in the evolution of the science and practice of green building. A coming together of technical minds, worldwide experience and a collaboration of organisations with global reach, provide a robust and dynamic launch pad to take buildings to the heart of global carbon mitigation action."

COP15: The United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between December 7 and December 18, 2009. The conference includes the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 5th Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 5) to the Kyoto Protocol. (

An alliance of Green Building Councils, GBCA, UKGBC and the U.S. Green Building Council, BC and the BRE Trust (the owners of BREEAM), signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2009 to develop a common carbon metric. World GBC and its member councils.

SB Alliance and members of the core group (BRE Global/BREEAM, U.S. Green Building Council, CSTB, DGNB, FCAV, ITC, NIST, VTT): The Sustainable Building Alliance is non-profit, non-partisan, international network of standard setting organizations, national building research centres and key property industry and construction sector stakeholders, that is intended to accelerate the international adoption of Sustainable Building (SB) practices through the promotion of shared metrics of building performance assessment and rating. (

UNEP SBCI: The Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (SBCI) was established in 2006 as a partnership between UN and the building sector stakeholders, including architects, product manufacturers, construction companies, property investors and owners, building managers, professional associations and public authorities. (

IPCC 4th assessment report November 2007: Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The report is the largest and most detailed summary of the climate change situation ever undertaken, involving thousands of authors from dozens of countries. (

U.S. Green Building Council The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 131,000 LEED Accredited Professionals, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013.

USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.