180+ Financial institutions - $ 56 + Trillion in total assets

Financing towards net-zero buildings

Addressing the need to mobilize the financial industry to accelerate the transition of European buildings to net zero

Buildings account for 36% of European greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). To meet the Paris Agreement and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, decarbonization measures in existing buildings need to increase drastically and be target-oriented. At the same time, new buildings need to lead the way towards zero emissions.

The Race to Zero has started. More and more financial institutions are setting net-zero targets. To go on this journey and track the improvements needed, financial institutions require clear guidance to accelerate this transition and leverage both public and private finance in the right direction.


PCAF’s latest project addresses the need to mobilize the financial industry to accelerate the transition of European buildings towards net zero by 2050. It provides clear guidance to financial institutions to stay on the required course and to report on the positive impact of their actions in a transparent, robust, and standardized way. The project targets the following objectives:

  • Mobilize financial institutions and make them accountable for taking actions

    • to finance the transition of European buildings towards net zero

  • Enable financial institutions to measure and track progess towards net zero

    • by harmonizing the measurement and target setting pathways for mortgage and real estate portfolios

  • Make the transition of the building stock towards net zero actionable

    • by exploring technical and financial measures and developing best practice guidelines


The transition to a net-zero economy by 2050 requires the transformation of all sectors. The building sector, in particular, requires massive investments in renovations and new buildings. Given the urgency of the matter, the European Commission's Renovation Wave seeks to at least double building renovation rates until 2030 as part of the Green Deal.

To accelerate this transition, financial institutions require clear guidance to prioritize and finance specific renovation approaches and new construction technologies which will enable the needed long-term structural change of the European building stock.

PCAF provides a unique network of banks and investors in Europe as well as globally. This network collaborates to develop a transparent, harmonized standard for measuring financed emissions, an important step in steering towards net zero.

Financial institutions need this information to plan and implement suitable and effective interventions in the form of innovative financial products and services that will help achieve a net-zero emission building stock at least cost and without detours.

Consequently, mobilizing the financial sector is key to accelerate the transition of the European building stock. As the financial sector mobilizes, it will incentivize building owners, real estate developers and the broader building sector to shift towards net zero.


Core Project Team
The Core Project Team constitutes of a diversified set of representatives from the financial industry from across Europe working towards the net-zero building transition. The project team meets regularly to provide key expertise and to advance the project’s workstreams.

The following institutions are members of the Core Project Team:

  • De Volksbank
  • Nordea Life & Pension
  • ERSTE Group
  • Caixa Bank
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Federated Hermes
  • Green Finance Institute (GFI)
  • Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM)

Expert Advisory Group
An Expert Advisory Group, comprising of key stakeholders from the building and financial sector, is regularly consolidated to deepen the understanding of the needs and challenges towards the net-zero building stock.

Building emission factor database

Financial institutions require robust approaches to accurately measure and track the progress of their European mortgage and real estate portfolios on the path towards net-zero. PCAF is developing an improved set of emission factors for the European building stock which will be made publicly available through a building emission factor database by the end of 2021.  

Knowledge products

As part of this project, PCAF prepares knowledge products and materials for financial institutions, such as best practice examples of financial products and services for building renovation and new constructions to encourage the mobilization of capital for the transition of European buildings to net-zero.

Virtual project launch

On 11 November PCAF's latest project, “Financing towards net-zero buildings” funded by the Laudes Foundation was launched. 

Attendees learnerd about the required transformation of the European building stock by 2050 and the crucial role of financial institutions in enabling the needed long-term structural change. Moreover, industry representatives discussed the opportunities of this transition and the need for the financial industry to act as an accelerator. Attendees also got an overview of how financial institutions can measure and track the climate impact of their mortgage and real estate portfolios towards net zero.

Speakers incude:

Prof. Dr. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz: Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, and Vice Chair, Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Clare Hierons: Senior Programme Manager Finance & Capital Market Transformation, Laudes Foundation

James Hooton: Programme Director, Green Finance Institute

Tjeerd Krumpelman: Global head of Business Advisory, Reporting & Engagement / Group Sustainability, ABN AMRO

Gabriel Marosi: Group Sustainability Officer, ERSTE Group

Peter Sandahl: Head of Sustainability, Nordea Life & Pension

Giel Linthorst: Executive Director of PCAF Secretariat and Director at Guidehouse

Madeline Schneider: Project Manager of PCAF’s Financing towards net-zero buildings and Managing Consultant at Guidehouse