NHB/Research/All/EU WLC

EU WLC - Analysis of Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of EU Buildings and Construction

Over their whole life cycle, buildings account for around 40% of CO2 emissions in the EU as recent studies using bottom-up modelling of the building stock indicate. Reducing emissions from the building sector and construction ecosystem will therefore play a key role for achieving the targets of a climate neutral Europe by 2050, as set out in the European Climate Law.
There is a growing recognition of the need to tackle embodied emissions and carbon removals alongside a continued focus on reducing emissions from the energy used to operate buildings. Recent policy initiatives on the EU and national level have highlighted the importance of such a whole life carbon (WLC) emission approach.
At present, however, only limited information on whole life carbon emissions of buildings is available in a format that allows in-depth comparison between countries, building types, and emission reduction strategies including design and policy choices. This is especially the case when considering the larger scale, at the level of national and EU building stocks.
To address this, the European Commission has initiated a preparatory action aimed at developing a better understanding of WLC emissions and carbon removals of buildings and construction in the EU. This analysis will help establish a more accurate picture of the climate impact of Europe’s building stock and the associated construction activity. It will also aim to inform the design and proper implementation of effective building- and construction-related policies.

The work in this project builds upon efforts and findings from the study ‘Supporting the development of a roadmap for the reduction of whole life carbon of buildings’, launched by the European Commission in 2021.  

The study is conducted by Ramboll Management Consulting in a consortium with BPIE, KU Leuven, TU Graz, Aalborg University, Politecnico di Milano, and IIASA. It will run until the summer of 2025.

The objectives are: 

  • Model the whole life carbon impact of the EU building stock and the associated construction, renovation and demolition activity on emissions and carbon removals.
  • Assess and compare strategies for whole life carbon emissions reduction and removal, within the perspective of reaching climate neutrality and resilience in 2050.
  • Improve the availability of data to assess the whole life carbon impact of the EU building stock.
  • Propose a methodology to further improve data availability for the future and to continuously monitor whole life carbon emissions beyond the study period.


Project duration:
2023 – 2025

Project team:
Xavier Le Den, Ivan Jankovic, Martin Röck, Alexander Passer, Monica Lavagna, Endrit Hoxha, Alessio Mastrucci

Project partners:
Ramboll Management Consulting in a consortium with BPIE
KU Leuven
Aalborg University
Politecnico di Milano