Launch of global ISO standard for measuring carbon footprint of buildings

A new international standard created to simplify the measuring and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing buildings has been launched by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO).

The building and construction industry accounts for around one-third of global emissions and the new (ISO) 16745 framework will provide a set of methods to calculate, report, communicate and verify carbon metrics for emissions arising from the measured energy use during the activity of an existing building.

Until now, there has been no globally agreed method to measure, report and verify potential reductions of emissions from existing buildings in a consistent and comparable way. ISO hopes that the 16745 standard will provide the foundation for accurate performance baselines of buildings to be drawn, national targets to be set and carbon trading to occur on a level playing field.

The simplicity of its approach means it is applicable at all scales, from cities and building portfolios to individual buildings.

ISO says: “The carbon metric is a measure (a partial carbon footprint) that is based on energy use data and related building information for an existing building in operation. It provides information related to the calculation of GHG emissions and can be used as an environmental indicator. Using this approach, the metric and its protocol can be applied by all stakeholders in both developing and well-developed countries, where building energy consumption and other relevant data can be retrieved or collected, making it useful and globally transferable.

This document aims to be practical for many stakeholders (i.e. not only for the building profession), who are expected to use the carbon metric of a building as reference for decision making in their business activities, governmental policies, and as a baseline for benchmarking.”

Research from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has suggested a “monumental and coordinated” effort from business and governments is required to ensure all existing buildings by 2050 operate at net-zero carbon.

In May, ISO unveiled the 14080 framework which aims to help industry work with governments to achieve “credible, transparent and consistent” climate action through enhanced methodologies. The previous month saw the launch of the world’s first international standard for sustainable procurement, which aims to increase supply chain transparency.

See ISO standard here

Further information


July 13, 2017