IEA EBC Annex 89: Ways to Implement Net-zero Whole Life Carbon Buildings

IEA EBC Annex 89 focuses on the pathways and actions needed by various stakeholders and decision-makers to implement whole life cycle based net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings in policy and practice. Annex 89 will support key stakeholders and decision-makers in developing and implementing effective Paris-goal compatible schemes and solutions to achieve NetZ-WLC buildings at multiple scales.

Short Description

IEA EBC Annex 89 centers on delineating the necessary routes and measures for diverse stakeholders and decision-makers to incorporate policies and practices that achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the entire life cycle of buildings. This means explicitly considering both embodied and operational GHG emissions across all stages of the built asset life cycle – also referred to as whole life* (WLC) – to achieve the overarching (or ultimate) goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global warming to well below 2° Celsius, and preferably to 1.5° Celsius, above pre-industrial levels by aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 latest. In this document, policies, initiatives and actions that share, support and contribute to this goal are referred to as "Paris-goal compatible".

Annex 89 will contribute to the transition of the building and real estate sector towards net-zero whole-life carbon (NetZ-WLC) outcomes through the following work program:

  • developing guidelines and recommendations on establishing whole life carbon targets (including carbon budgets) for the building and real estate sector at various scales and perspectives and identifying critical carbon reduction pathways and actions;
  • establishing Paris-goal compatible assessment frameworks and evaluating the suitability and application(s) of different assessment methods to achieve NetZ-WLC buildings at various scales;
  • mapping and assessing the relevance and effectiveness of a range of tools, aids and instruments available to different stakeholders in their decision-making contexts and objective(s);
  • understanding the conditions that are conducive for in-practice uptake and more effective implementation of context-based solutions and actions by key stakeholders; and
  • ensuring efficient and effective engagement and knowledge exchange with diverse stakeholder groups and disseminating Annex 89 outputs that maximise opportunities to "get it to the ground" – from local to global scale.

Annex 89 aims to contribute to local, national and global efforts to accelerate and scale up the transition of the building and real estate sector to NetZ-WLC outcomes by supporting key stakeholders and decision-makers in developing and implementing effective approaches and solutions compatible with the Paris goals to achieve NetZ-WLC buildings at multiple scales.

The focus will be on the decarbonisation status and activities in the building and real estate sector in countries that have participating experts, but relevant developments (in research, policy and/or activities) in other parts of the world will also be considered, especially as part of Annex 89 case studies.

The Annex 89 work program is divided into five subtasks, which are interrelated and synergistic. Each subtask is supported by several activities. As a pathways-and-implementation focused Annex, supporting the important decision-makers and stakeholder groups to support NetZ-WLC buildings at multiple scales through knowledge and information (ST1, ST2 and ST4), methods, tools and instruments (ST2 and ST4) and uptake strategies and support (ST3, ST4 and ST5). The desired outcomes and performance targets (including carbon budgets) in ST1 will be evaluated through the methods identified in ST2, some of which are enabled by a range of tools and instruments in ST3. Thus, the proposed STs comprising the work program are interrelated and synergistic.


*Whole Life Carbon (WLC) refers to the sum total of all asset-related GHG emissions and removals, both operational and embodied over the life cycle of an asset including its disposal (Modules: A1-A5 Upfront; B1-B7 In Use; C1-C4 End of Life). Herein, the use of the simplified term "carbon" refers to the normalized carbon-equivalent of the contributing GHG emissions.


Australia, Austria (Operating Agent), Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America

Contact Address

Operating Agent

Alexander Passer
Graz University of Technology
Technikerstraße 4/IV, A-8010 Graz