2020 GABC - Roadmap for Buildings and Construction in Latin America

6According to the World Energy Outlook, energy efficiency and decarbonisation of electricity in buildings in Latin America under a Sustainable Development Scenario2 could reduce annual emissions from buildings in 2040 by almost 140 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) compared to a Stated Policies Scenario3. Such measures could in fact reduce emissions from buildings by 51% from 2018 levels, while accommodating a 6% increase in energy demand (IEA, 2019b).

Achieving these outcomes at pace and scale will require greater collaboration among policy makers at all jurisdictional levels, as well as with urban planners, architects, developers, investors, construction companies and utility companies. In addition to providing healthier, more resilient and more productive environments, the decarbonisation of the buildings sector presents a business opportunity in Latin America and the Caribbean with an estimated value of approximately USD 4 trillion by 2030 (IFC, 2019). Decarbonising buildings is also in full alignment with the aims of SDG 12, to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.


Latin America is home to 624 million people and presents high rates of urbanisation, with over 80% of its population living in cities (UN DESA, 2019). Cities and countries in the region face challenges like urban sprawl and fragmentation, lack of public infrastructure, expansive areas of informal settlements and high percentage of population living in inadequate housing, located in vulnerable areas. This is aggravated by the high levels of informality in the construction sector, with self-construction being a common practice. The purpose of this roadmap is to set up a framework for the buildings and construction sector to support a common language and vision for the complete decarbonisation of buildings across their life cycle, and to support the development of national or subnational strategies and policies, including, for example, nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Developed in consultation with over 250 stakeholders and buildings experts across the region, this roadmap outlines the range of actions that different actors can take in the short, medium and long term to achieve a built environment that is zero-emission, efficient and resilient. It covers eight “activities”: urban planning, new buildings, existing buildings, building operations, appliances and systems, materials, resilience, and clean energy, and for each of these proposes key actions, targets for policies and technologies, and enabling measures with the aspiration of reaching net-zero carbon emission buildings by 2050.