Approximately 38% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions come from the built environment. In order for the world to deliver on the Paris Agreement, and reduce global warming to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius, there is a need for a fundamental, deep transformation of the construction and building sector. The earlier the reductions are achieved, the faster greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) go down. To that end, this decade is critical: direct building CO2 emissions need to more than halve by 2030, if the net-zero carbon building stock is to be achieved by 2050.2 Emissions must be drastically cut not only in the operational phase of the building, but also earlier in its lifecycle, throughout the supply chain and in the construction phase.  

So far, policy efforts to decarbonise the building stock have focused on the operational phase – on reducing energy demand and GHGs with energy efficiency measures. However, the efforts needs to go a few steps further in order to make the sector “nearly zero”. A large percent of GHGs is emitted while producing materials that are to be used in buildings, as well as during the construction phase. This is why there is an immediate need to reduce emissions in these early lifecycle stages. To achieve this, there is a need to deploy tools and methodologies that would enable accurate emissions (ac)counting and emission reductions. 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all stages of the lifecycle of a commercial product, process, or service. It is being used to assess emissions in earlier lifecycle stages of the building process. A sub-set of the LCA is the Energy Life Cycle Assessment, which focuses on the energy balance of an assigned scope, and has an important role in the buildings’ pre-operational phases. 

The EU has deployed a series of regulations and actions that aim to tackle these emissions from early lifecycle stages – a.k.a. embedded emissions. Focus on these embedded emissions also raised the importance of lifecycle assessment as a methodology that is to be used for measuring the progress towards the EU’s climate and energy goals. The EU is keen to share its experiences with other jurisdictions that are to follow suit and are also aiming to tackle early lifecycle stages emissions. 

The Brazilian government is aware of the importance of tackling these early lifecycle stage emissions, and is currently developing its own set of policies and databases that would enable this effort. 

The German development agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE)  are aiming to facilitate the knowledge exchange between the European and the Brazilian policymakers, industry representatives and technical experts.

The “International Experience on Low Carbon Performance Assessment Tools and Policies for Construction” webinar is one of the parts of the effort undertaken to ensure that the EU shares its experience in building the relevant policy framework, as well as in building the LCA databases, standards, necessary certification systems and relevant business models. 

The aim of this webinar is to introduce to the Brazilian construction sector and policy makers concepts such as whole-life carbon and lifecycle assessment (LCA) and discuss the European best practices. The overview and the follow up debate with leading construction sector representatives and experts will touch upon examples of public policies and market initiatives related to the use of LCA and how LCA contributes to the achievement of Paris Agreement goals.