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Governments and construction sector in three European countries launch EU building data project to drive full decarbonisation

30 March 2023

Czechia, Ireland and Spain will be the first countries to participate in a new initiative which aims to boost the availability of quality building climate data, a critical step towards fully decarbonising the heavily emitting sector, responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions.

The INDICATE initiative will bring together governments, industry and academia to tackle one of the most common barriers to enacting policies which will ensure climate neutral construction: a lack of reliable and comprehensive emissions data for buildings.

INDICATE seeks to accelerate policy development across Europe by generating critical baseline data for buildings, which can help guide policymakers to set carbon limits that cover the full lifecycle impact of buildings, from manufacture and construction, through to deconstruction and waste processing – the so-called ‘whole life carbon limits’. 

Currently, almost all building regulations in Europe only address carbon emissions from the building operation, ignoring the emissions that are generated before a building comes into use and at the end of its life (1). These embodied carbon emissions – which together with operational CO2 are known as whole life carbon – can be more than half of a new building’s total carbon footprint and threaten to consume national construction carbon budgets well ahead of 2050 net zero goals.

Certain leading markets like Denmark, Finland, France and the Netherlands have already enacted whole life carbon policies. The first crucial step in setting these was to establish baselines. Other European countries are held back from following this example due to a lack of necessary data (2).

The coalition behind INDICATE is tackling this data gap. The innovative public-private approach of the project aims to secure broad support and investment for the results from industry and policy makers alike, helping to ensure the resulting data can be quickly put to use. This is just the beginning of what the coalition hopes will be a European-wide programme to finally quantify and drive a quick reduction in unregulated carbon emissions. 

The EU recently took its own first steps towards whole life carbon regulation with proposals to introduce mandatory reporting in the revision of a key piece of European buildings policy, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). By strengthening political support and industry capability amongst more countries INDICATE will help to overcome opposition seen from some Member States to the ambitious proposals EU lawmakers have put forward for the EPBD revision.

Petr Serafín, Director, Department of construction and building materials, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic:

“We greatly appreciate that we can participate with our projects in INDICATE, which will financially and technically support the creation of several case studies mapping carbon emissions during the entire life cycle of buildings. We believe that thanks to this project we will obtain relevant data about the building stock, not only about new buildings, but also about existing objects. Valid data is essential to move towards carbon neutrality in decarbonisation, which we should achieve by 2050 according to the Paris Agreement. A big benefit of the project is that it also includes presentations of study results to all interested parties, including the state administration.”

Francis-Noel Duffy, Member of Dáil Éireann for Dublin South West and the Green Party Spokesperson for Housing:

“Addressing embodied carbon emissions is critical to halve our emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The development of high quality data and baseline data for buildings constructed in Ireland through pilot projects is a key step in supporting the regulation of these emissions in Ireland.”

Joe Durkan, Head of Technical – National Retrofit, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland:

“High quality data on whole life carbon emissions associated with our built environment is critical to support policymaking and the decarbonisation of our building stock. SEAI recognises the importance of collecting standardised data through the development of a national methodology to assess these emissions and is pleased to support the INDICATE project.”

Belén Vitón Sanz – Spanish Office for Climate Change (OECC), Sub-Directorate General for the Coordination of Actions to Combat Climate Change – Ministry for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge:

“Initiatives such as Indicate can help progress towards a more accurate knowledge of the carbon footprint of buildings in Spain, which is undoubtedly essential for the development of decarbonisation policies and strategies.”

The partners in the three newly launched national pilots are:


With support from the Ministries of Environment and of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.


INDICATE is being carried out through Construct Innovate, Ireland’s national research centre for construction technology and innovation. The lead partners above are supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, University College Dublin and Associate Members of Construct Innovate.


With the Government of Spain as observers.

INDICATE was launched in December 2022 by a European consortium including the Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), the Catholic University (KU) Leuven and World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), and is coordinated by Danish consultancy, Smith Innovation. It is co-funded by the Laudes Foundation and cash or in-kind contributions from national partners, including national governments.

Find out more on INDICATE.



  1. The Circular Economy – a Powerful Force for Climate Mitigation, Material Economics, 2019
  2. EU Policy Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, WorldGBC, 2022

Notes to Editors:

World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is the largest and most influential local-regional-global action network, leading the transformation to sustainable and decarbonised built environments for everyone, everywhere.

Together, with 75+ Green Building Councils and industry partners from all around the world, we are driving systemic changes to:

  • Address whole life carbon emissions of existing and new buildings 
  • Enable resilient, healthy, equitable and inclusive places 
  • Secure regenerative, resource efficient and waste-free infrastructure

We work with businesses, organisations and governments to deliver on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). 

Find out more

About the INDICATE project:


INDICATE is meeting one of the most fundamental challenges to decarbonise buildings – the lack of data to support policymaking and strategic business decision-making. The building and construction sector accounts for approximately 40% of global carbon emissions. This needs to change! INDICATE pushes for policy and industry to tackle both operational and embodied carbon – ‘Whole Life Carbon’ (WLC) – since it is crucial to reduce the climate impact of new construction and renovation.

National partnerships will be forged between industry, academia, and national government. This co-creation approach promises to ensure the stakeholders will act on the data and the outcomes to accelerate policy and industry change.


INDICATE is an accelerator offering a project framework and co-funding to support efforts to generate much-needed building-level WLC data in Europe. This data must be generated now if industry and policy action on decarbonising buildings are to be brought in line with the 1,5 °C target from the 2015 Paris COP21 agreement.

INDICATE offers a combination of financial support and technical advice on both ‘Life Cycle Analysis’ (LCA) data and policy advocacy. This support is targeted at generating the data foundation, whilst INDICATE’s cocreation

approach and advocacy support are designed to ensure the all-important buy in of industry and policy makers to take and use the data to accelerate progress towards a fully decarbonised building stock.

With grants up to €250.000 per country, INDICATE supports the collection of systemized and improved data of new or existing building LCA results. It directly enables generation of insights into the state of the respective national building stock and carbon reduction potential of different national strategies. To ensure buy-in from supported consortiums there is a requirement of public co-funding. As of February 2023, INDICATE is supporting three pilot countries. 

INDICATE Partners:

About BPIE

BPIE (Buildings Performance Institute Europe) is a leading independent centre of expertise on energy performance of buildings, providing data-driven and actionable policy analysis, advice, and implementation support to decision-makers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Founded in 2010, BPIE combines expertise on energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, and health and indoor environment with a deep understanding of EU policies and processes.

A not-for-profit think-tank based in Brussels and Berlin, our mission is to make an affordable, climate-neutral built environment a reality in Europe and globally.


About KU Leuven

The research group Architectural Engineering tackles innovation in the design of buildings

by approaching architecture from an engineering point of view. The group conducts cutting-edge research on technical aspects of architecture, considering structure, materials,

services, and comfort requirements in a multidisciplinary setting in order to quantify,

assess, and improve the quality, cost, and sustainability of the built environment.


About Laudes Foundation

Laudes Foundation is an independent foundation which is part of the growing movement to accelerate the transition to a climate-positive and inclusive global economy. Responding to the dual crises of climate breakdown and inequality, Laudes supports brave action that inspires and challenges industry to harness its power for good. Founded by the Brenninkmeijer family business owners, it builds on six generations of entrepreneurship and philanthropy and works collaboratively alongside a wider network of philanthropic organisations, to both influence finance and capital markets and transform industry with a focus on the built environment and fashion.


About Smith Innovation

Assist philanthropic foundations, local governments as well as companies and organizations in the building industry to take a leading role in the transition towards a sustainable future.


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