#BuildingLife. Countdown for the residential sector


In autumn 2021, a first proposal of the Roadmap for the decarbonisation of buildings throughout their life cycle was presented in the framework of the #BuildingLife project. Already at that time, a promise was made to continue working towards the long-term vision, which is none other than the approach towards a 2050 in which all people in Spain will live in a built environment, rural or urban, in socially acceptable conditions of habitability. And within this social demand, the building sector will provide and maintain this service without emitting GHGs, with a model of resilient and circular building in the use of resources.

A year later, a new #BuildingLife document is presented that delves into the housing accounts in Spain, a document that is born with the aim of realising the seriousness of the current situation and that establishes the basis for successfully tackling the countdown towards a climate-neutral sector.


Use and renovation of the existing park

We must make a firm commitment to making the most of what has already been built. Just as we discovered years ago that without refurbishing the existing stock we would not be able to substantially reduce our operational carbon, we now see that in terms of embedded carbon, existing homes are our main asset. Our carbon investment has already been made.

Rationalising new construction

We must redefine new housing needs so that new construction can be rationalised. At current forecasts for new housing starts and the rate of decarbonisation of building product materials, it will be impossible to limit embedded carbon, currently the most destabilising factor in the life-cycle carbon calculator.

Decarbonisation of construction products

It must be understood that the ability to take action on existing and new building stock is directly dependent on the ability to decarbonise the materials in building products. The finite amount of embedded carbon, the higher the rate of decarbonisation, the greater the possibilities for housing renovation or new construction.

Coordination with the rest of the sector’s agendas

We need to strengthen and advance all other sector agendas, as decarbonisation is not the only challenge facing the building sector. The transformation towards the circular economy, in this sense, is an essential ally in decarbonisation and therefore it is necessary to promote it within a framework of coordination.

Consideration of the time factor

We must be aware that we must act urgently, because time is of the essence. The life-cycle carbon budget is limited, very limited, and the longer we take to undertake decarbonisation actions, the less carbon budget we will have available to carry out the transformation itself.


Green Building Council España, Cíclica[space·community·ecology]


Ikea Foundation, Laudes Fundation

Project year



23 de February de 2023


Research and innovation