Promoting the Zero-Emission transition in Building and Construction Sector in the Greater Bay Area

Building and construction decarbonization is crucial for achieving carbon neutrality. To support the realization of “a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector”, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), set up a Global Roadmap and a Regional Roadmap for Asia to establish a common language and vision for the complete decarbonization of buildings.

As a follow-up, ICLEI East Asia and the German Energy Agency (dena) jointly organized the Regional Workshop on Zero-Emission, Efficient, and Resilient Buildings and Construction in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of China on 1 June 2023The workshop marked a milestone for the GlobalABC Regional Roadmap for Building and Construction in the GBA, a project implemented by dena, ICLEI East Asia, and the China Academy of Building Research (CABR). The project aims to support the realization of a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector.

Group photo of workshop participants

Group photo of workshop participants


The workshop commenced with insightful presentations from three esteemed speakers. Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO of dena, warmly welcomed the attendees and introduced the dena pilot study titled “Towards Carbon Neutrality.” He shared pivotal insights derived from the project, offering valuable learnings from the process. Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI East Asia, underscored ICLEI’s steadfast dedication to supporting cities in their low-carbon endeavors across multiple sectors, including the building sector. Linhao Chen, Minister-Counselor for Science and Technology at the Chinese Embassy in Germany, emphasized the immense potential and significance of climate cooperation between China and Germany.

Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO of dena

Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO of dena

hu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI East Asia

Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI East Asia


In an important milestone of the cooperation, the project team unveiled the Regional Roadmap for Building and Construction in China’s Greater Bay Area. The team shared key findings across various activity areas, contributing to increased awareness among stakeholders and fostering a common language for the long-term development of the building and construction sector. To access the Roadmap and its Executive Summary, please use the QR codes provided below.

The second segment of the workshop featured German and Chinese experts who shared their initiatives on low-carbon buildings.

Officials from Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two influential metropolises within the Greater Bay Area (GBA), presented their respective policies on low-carbon buildings. Lin Kang, Director at the Guangzhou Municipal Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau, showcased Guangzhou’s endeavors in promoting green and low-carbon buildings through urban planning enhancements and advancements in technical standards. She highlighted three noteworthy examples, including innovative approaches to green buildings, building renovation strategies, and eco-areas creation within the city. Liang Liu, Deputy Director-General at the Shenzhen Guangming District Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau, introduced the district’s comprehensive promotion of diverse technologies such as green buildings, prefabricated constructions, and sponge cities. He emphasized the district’s goal to foster a robust green building industry and expand green building areas in the future.

Experts representing think tanks and companies shared valuable insights on enhancing low-carbon building practices within the GBA. Thilo Cunz, Head of Building International at dena, spotlighted the dena Zero Carbon building certification process and stressed the necessity to expand the focus on integrated districts. He exemplified this approach using Berlin’s Euref Campus as a successful case of integrated district development. Min Zhou, Principal Engineer at the China Northwest Architecture Design and Research Institute, provided a systematic overview of concepts and actions within zero-carbon building systems. Tim Lo, Head of System Development at BEAM Society Limited, introduced iBEAM, an assessment system that streamlines the green building workflow by integrating various datasets.

The workshop attracted a diverse gathering of over 50 participants from governmental agencies, companies, and think tanks within the GBA. The event catalyzed collaboration among stakeholders, creating a fertile ground for future initiatives. The rich discussions and insights gained during the workshop are anticipated to shape policy decisions and drive the widespread adoption of sustainable building practices across the region.

Following the workshop, the project team embarked on visits to Foshan Sanlongwan and Shenzhen, where they met  with local partners. In Foshan Sanlongwan, the project team had the opportunity, courtesy of the local government, to explore urban planning exhibitions and observe representative green buildings. In Shenzhen, the team convened with the International Financial Forum and the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research (IBR) to discuss potential cooperation opportunities.

ICLEI East Asia and dena experts visiting Foshan Sanlongwan

ICLEI East Asia and dena experts visiting Foshan Sanlongwan

The project team visiting Shenzhen IBR

The project team visiting Shenzhen IBR (Credits: Shenzhen IBR) 


Building upon the success of the workshop and the productive interactions with local partners, ICLEI East Asia and dena reaffirm their unwavering commitment to supporting the GBA’s transition towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient building sector. The collaborative efforts and shared expertise forged through these initiatives will play a vital role in realizing a sustainable future for the area.


Author: Xuan Xie (

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