Skip to content


Bio-based circular solutions


Circular building materials


Arup to develop City Handbook for Carbon Neutral Buildings

Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance selects Arup to develop City Handbook for Carbon Neutral Buildings
6 March 2023

The global Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) has appointed Arup to develop the City Handbook for Carbon Neutral Buildings to offer cities a practicable approach to reducing COemissions through low carbon construction.

Founded in 2014, CNCA brings together 21 leading global cities working to achieve carbon neutrality as rapidly as possible and ahead of national and international targets. The Handbook will support cities to minimise the carbon footprint of buildings across CNCA’s network and beyond.

The Handbook will be designed as an interactive tool that urban policymakers and planners can tailor to specific building projects, including step-by-step guidance on how to reduce embodied carbon and implement circular economy principles.

The Handbook will build on CNCA’s City Policy Framework for Dramatically Reducing Embodied Carbon that charted this new policy territory by outlining 52 policies cities can adopt to reduce embodied carbon emissions.

“Emissions during construction are a major contributor to lifetime emissions for capital projects. While operations may have decarbonisation opportunities long after construction completion, the embodied carbon emissions from construction are set in stone as the project is executed. Up-front carbon emissions account for up to 50 percent of total life cycle emissions”, says Peter Vangsbo, leading Sustainability and Climate Services in Arup in Denmark.

“The time is now for both industry leaders and city policymakers to make tackling embodied emissions a priority,” according to Vangsbo. “Arup’s partnership with CNCA aims to help cities combat climate change by reducing embodied emissions.”

Simone Mangili, CNCA’s Executive Director, adds: “Our aim is to support engagement between policymakers and key players across the public and private sector – from architects and engineers to urban planners to procurement and permitting officials – in continuing to chart a collaborative approach to designing sustainable buildings for a carbon positive future”.

The Handbook for Carbon Neutral Buildings will identify green supply chains for residential, commercial and industrial building stock, while providing general and location-specific guidance on the procurement of biobased and low-carbon materials, including a catalogue of biobased alternatives for structures, cladding and insulation.

Low Carbon Construction

Buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy consumption and produce 33% of greenhouse gas emissions. With a large chunk of new construction taking place in urban environments, cities have a role to play in encouraging sustainable construction methods and creating a market demand for low-carbon and bio-based materials such as timber, hemp and wool.

Low Carbon Construction

City Handbook for Carbon Neutral Buildings

Learn more about how Arup plans, designs and shapes sustainable cities here and about CNCA’s leadership on embodied carbon here.

You should consider reading

Bio-based circular solutions
Circular building materials
Circular value chains
Green buildings


Job creation and transition


Sound of Green, a podcast series with insights from Denmark’s green transition

27 January 2023
From managing cloudbursts to setting up climate partnerships, we examine how Denmark has turned acute climate challenges into new opportunities. In our podcast series Sound of Green, experts convey how Danish experiences can push the needle toward global green transition. Find it on Spotify, Apple Podcast and


Green financing


Financing the green transition

29 November 2023
Mobilising investments to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient economy.


Circular business models


Vestas introduces low-emission steel offerings for wind turbines

1 February 2024
With the steel industry being emission-heavy, Danish wind giants Vestas have formed a partnership to introduce low-emission steel offering that reduces emissions from production of wind turbine towers.