Assessment of Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Buildings


Buildings contribute on average to 30% of energy use in society causing similar levels of associated greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, focusing on energy use in buildings is vital to addressing the climate neutrality goals of the UN.  This study came about through a collaboration between UNEP & the Central European University and complements the work of the UN’s Sustainable Buildings & Construction Initiative (SBCI). The assessment examines energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions in the building sector, and presents the results of different policy tools. The aim is to provide governments with knowledge & inspiration to formulate effective policy tools that enable energy efficiency in the building sector.  Download the full PDF or download the summary PDF


Buildings & Climate Change: Status, Challenges & Opportunities


This report provides an overview of current knowledge of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector, and eight key messages for decision makers. The report states that the building sector presents the largest single opportunity for improved energy efficiency. It is estimated that at present buildings contribute as much as one third of total greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the use of fossil fuels during their operational phase.  Furthermore, evidence based recommendations are given to encourage action and commitment to energy efficient buildings, which will be of interest to all parties involved in pursuing climate neutrality. Download the full PDF or download the summary PDF and checklists.


Climate Friendly Buildings and Offices: A Practical Guide

Climate-Friendly Buildings and Offices: A Practical Guide provides robust, hands-on advice to facility managers to reduce energy consumption and improve the efficiency of their buildings. With the UN  currently maintaining offices in more than 530 locations worldwide, the guide is an important resource for all those who are interested in energy efficient buildings. Though primarily aimed at assisting UN facility and property managers, this Guide is also applicable to other building mangers who are looking to reduce office-related energy and GHG emissions. Download the full PDF or download the summary PDF and checklists.


Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Guidance for Facility Managers

This guide assists UN facility managers in reducing GHG emissions from buildings. The report identifies various ways in which energy can be saved in buildings as well as containing simple tips on implementing energy efficiency measures and carbon management. It also provides further information sources on energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as best practice examples. Download the full PDF or download the summary PDF.




Information resources on sustainable facilities

1) General resources, including educational material, guidelines and case studies

2) Ratings, Standards and Labels

3) Free Software


Helpdesk service on energy management in facilities


SUN, in collaboration with the Working Group on Sustainability of the Inter-agency Network of Facility Managers (INFM) is providing a helpdesk service on energy management in facilities. We will be able to provide broad guidance to queries, at the conceptual and practical levels. However, we would not be able to undertake resource intensive work like designing, modeling, reviewing detailed documents etc. If any UN entity or member of the INFM needs support on this issue, please contact Jacob Kurian at jacob.kurian@unep.org. For the sake of coordination and consistency, it would be better if the queries are sent in consultation with your facility management group or other relevant divisions

Meeting of the Working Group on Sustainability

New York, 2 May 2013

Background Documents

Briefing paper - Business case for EMS

Concept for HLCM
INFM Working Group on Sustainability
Energy Audit
Green Lease Draft


UN Groups &  Networks

Interagency Network for Facility Managers

The INFM meet annually to discuss common issues within facilities management and share experiences from duty stations worldwide. INFM provides a collective effort for the UN Common System to maintain and enhance the infrastructures and ensure a safe and efficient working environment.

In March 2010, SUN helped establish a working group on sustainable facility management at the annual meeting on Facility Managers (INFM-10) in Nairobi. At that time 13 organizations joined the working group and identified 5 priority work areas. The following year, at INFM-11 in Washington, DC, Dominique Brief the new SUN lead for this working group presented the work accomplished so far and at this meeting another 4 organizations joined the working group bringing the membership to a total of 14 organizations.


•    INFM 2010:  13 organizations
•    INFM 2011: 17 organizations

Database of Facility Managers and Climate Neutral Focal Points

1a. Database of Facility Managers and Climate Neutral Focal Point (members and their climate neutral counterpart in their agency)

Sharing Efforts that Drive Sustainability

2a. Policies and Plans for LEED Certification

2b. Environmentally-preferred procurement

Green Procurement Guidelines

IT equipment

  • WBG - Criteria: EPEAT standard, which is based on the IEEE 1680 family of Environmental Assessment Standards.

Construction projects

Staff Guide to greening


Take a walk around the UNEP green building in Gigiri, Nairobi.


Case Studies

See the UN's building-related case studies here