logo text

Buildings Efficiency Methodology

Buildings Efficiency Methodology

Residential buildings represent a core component of our built environments and our environmental impact. Fortunately, buildings efficiency measures are often lower-hanging fruit that can have big impacts in reducing GHG emissions.


The Buildings Efficiency Assessment Guide provides guidance for assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of buildings sector energy efficiency policies. The Guide provides a step-wise approach for estimating the effects of policy design characteristics and barriers associated with regulatory and financial support policies on GHG impacts.


This Assessment Guide specifically covers regulatory and financial support policies that address both new building stock and existing building stock with retrofit. Users are guided on how to estimate the impacts of these policies for the residential sector, although this guidance may also be used for the commercial and public sectors. The Guide focuses on the assessment of impacts from built-in energy loads, including space heating, cooling, lighting and hot water. It does not assess the impacts of appliances that are unrelated to heating, cooling and hot water.


The Assessment Guide helps users answer the following questions:

  • How do mandatory and voluntary buildings codes and financial support policies influence GHG emissions reductions?
  • How can users assess the impacts of these policies, as well as the influence of financial support policies and existing barriers?


Approaches covered in this methodology are applicable to three commonly implemented policies: mandatory building codes for new and existing buildings, voluntary building codes for new buildings and standalone financial support policies for the renovation of existing building stock.



Chapters 1 & 2
What is the guidance and why should I use it?
Empty div

These chapters provide an introduction to the guidance and an overview of objectives users may have in assessing the GHG impacts of buildings policies. This section should be read to understand whether to use the guidance and to determine what objectives it will be used for.

Chapters 3 & 4
Overview of the methodology
Empty div

This section provides an overview of buildings sector policies and identifies the policies to which this guidance can be applied. It also lays out an overview of the steps involved in assessing the GHG impacts of buildings policies, and provides guidance on planning the assessment.

Chapter 5
How to describe the policy or action being assessed
Empty div

In this chapter, users will get guidance on the first step of the assessment process, describing the policy that will be assessed. Guidance is also provided on deciding whether to assess an individual policy or a package of related policies and choosing whether to carry out an ex-ante (forward-looking) or ex-post (backward-looking) assessment.

Chapter 6
Identifying impacts
Empty div

This chapter provides guidance for identifying the most common GHG impacts of buildings policies. This section also guides users in developing a causal chain by considering how the policy will be implemented, who will be affected by the policy, what the potential intermediate effects of the policy will be, and how these effects cause GHG impacts.

Chapters 7 - 9
How to quantify the GHG impacts
Empty div

The guidance in Chapter 7 can be used for determining the baseline scenario, or the conditions most likely to occur in the absence of the policy being assessed. Guidance is provided for estimating the expected future GHG impacts of the policy in Chapter 8. Users estimate values for all parameters in the policy scenario and calculate expected GHG emissions. The obtained GHG emissions can either be used to compare the policy scenario emissions level to a sectoral target or to the baseline emissions. Guidance for assessing GHG impacts achieved by a policy to date is provided in Chapter 9. Ex-post estimates of emissions are based on observed data collected during the policy implementation period.

Chapters 10 & 11
How to monitor indicators over time and report the results
Empty div

This section is relevant for all users. Chapter 10 identifies data and parameters to monitor over time and provides guidance on how to develop a monitoring plan. Chapter 11 provides a recommended list of information to be reported, which ensures the impact assessment is transparent and gives decision-makers and stakeholders the information they need to properly interpret the results.

Appendix A -C
Additional Guidance
Empty div

These appendices provide a list of CDM methodologies that can be used to estimate GHG emission reductions for projects in the buildings sector and guidance on how to involve stakeholders in an impact assessment. The final section explains how the scope of this guidance was selected.

Glossary, references and contributors
Empty div

This section contains the glossary, abbreviations and acronyms, references and contributors.

List of key recommendations
Empty div

This is a summary of the key recommendations provided throughout the guidance.