The Low Carbon Building Initiative (LCBI) reveals the methodology for the first pan-European low carbon label, measuring the carbon footprint of real estate based on a Life-Cycle Analysis.

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The real estate industry accounts for more than a third of CO2 emissions. Calculating carbon emissions at each stage of a building’s life cycle – construction, operations, and end of life – is necessary to quantify the real carbon footprint of buildings.

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13/03/2023 |
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Launched at MIPIM in 2022, the Low Carbon Building Initiative (LCBI) gathers major real estate stakeholders to promote low carbon buildings and reduce the CO2 emissions of European real estate by half (measured in a Life-Cycle Analysis). After a year of collaborative benchmarking, data analysis, and expert1 reviews, LCBI reveals the methodology for the first version of the Low Carbon Building Initiative label.

There are many discrepancies across Europe in how Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) is used to assess building’s carbon emission, with many different indicators, study periods, scopes, and reference areas being used. Building upon key European standards and frameworks2 , the methodology fostered by LCBI aims to harmonize the measurement and practice of Life-Cycle Analysis across Europe with a pure carbon indicator (kgCO2e/m2 ), consistent with local regulations. Considering the entire life-cycle, the future LCBI label will assess building’s performance on three criteria:

  • the embodied carbon (emissions linked to building elements) measured in kg CO2e/m² over 50 years
  • the operational carbon (based on energy consumption and sources) measured in kg CO2e/m²/year
  • biogenic carbon stored (use of bio-sourced materials) in the building measured in kg CO2e/m²

The LCBI life-cycle carbon rating will be delivered with three exemplarity levels based on:

  • Completeness of the Life Cycle Analysis
  • Achievement of carbon emission thresholds, both concerning embodied carbon and operational carbon


LCBI capitalizes on the experience of the Association Bâtiment Bas Carbone (BBCA), founded in 2015, and pioneer of the first methodologies for measuring building carbon emissions on their whole lifecycle in France. More than 450 projects, representing 3,000,000 m² have been or are in the process of being labelled by BBCA, this experience has made possible to considerably reduce the emissions of these projects, which are 30% to 50% less emissive than traditional constructions. The methodology developed by BBCA inspired the French low carbon real estate regulation (RE2020), which was implemented at the beginning of 2022.

The LCBI label will cover all main real estate asset classes (starting with office, hotel and residential) and address new-build, renovation, as well as in-use buildings. The LCBI label will set a clear CO2 emission reduction pathway, and thereby help real estate stakeholders in understanding, tracking and planning progress in the measurement of the carbon performance of their building stock (over its whole life cycle). Measurement of embodied as well as operational carbon of standing buildings will be particularly useful to plan ahead of restructuring projects. LCBI proposes to position life-cycle carbon emission measurement at the core of real estate strategies across Europe.

More than ten sponsors’ buildings will be assessed as “pilot operations” in order to release a first version of the LCBI label (first focusing on new-built). Ratings should be revealed by the end of 2023.

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