Turkey is a newly industrialized country with an emerging economy and a growing need for urban residential buildings as a result of population growth and rapid urbanization. The building sector is a key focus area in climate change policy in Turkey, accounting for 33% of energy-related CO2 emissions. At the same time, the building sector presents opportunities for significant financial savings and increased occupant health and comfort.

Turkey’s rate of urbanization increased from 53% in 1990 to 93% in 2022 [1] and as a result, the number of new residential and commercial buildings in cities is growing rapidly. Simultaneously, the building sector is among the most energy-intensive sectors in Turkey; heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting alone consumed more than a third of Turkey’s [2] Given the size and energy intensity of the building sector, building efficiency is at the heart of implementation for all of Turkey’s national decarbonization plans. While the national government of Turkey has high ambitions for zero carbon in their (NZEB), their incentives, audits and financing tools need to be updated for Turkey to reach its 2053 net zero goal.

The Zero Carbon Building Accelerator (ZCBA) project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by World Resources Institute (WRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is providing two years of technical assistance to Turkey and Colombia to develop and implement long-term national roadmaps for building sector decarbonization and aligned city action plans in each country. In Turkey, local engagement is led by WRI Türkiye Sustainable Cities in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. Since the start of the ZCBA project in 2021, WRI Türkiye Sustainable Cities has held an initial stakeholder workshop, built a baseline assessment, performed a gap analysis informed by stakeholder input, analyzed results and shared recommendations with the national government. This project update discusses how WRI Türkiye engaged stakeholders in the building and construction sectors to produce a gap analysis and policy recommendations.

Path to Policy Recommendations for Zero Carbon Buildings in Türkiye

Stakeholder mapping

In April 2021 WRI Türkiye conducted a stakeholder mapping exercise as the first step of data collection for the ZCBA project. WRI Türkiye is building off five years of experience supporting the national government to develop a national energy efficiency action plan and the city of Eskişehir to improve building efficiency policies, data collection and implementation. Through direct outreach and a comprehensive literature review, WRI Türkiye expanded their existing contact network to include stakeholder sectors that would impact — or would be impacted by — the market transition to zero carbon buildings. WRI Türkiye built a list of 219 institutions, companies and organizations that fall into 14 work areas from across the building lifecycle. Figure 2 shows the distribution of these stakeholders by sector.

Stakeholder workshop

In June 2021, the project held a kick-off meeting to introduce the target and the scope of the project to relevant stakeholders, as well as an interactive session to include stakeholder opinions on the project design and initial recommendations. One hundred sixty stakeholders from across the 14 work areas participated in the workshop, as shown in Figure 3. Local government representatives and research institutions comprised the largest sectors represented with officials joining from 16 cities across Turkey, displaying the curiosity by Turkish municipalities to engage with and learn about zero carbon buildings. In two interactive sessions, attendees defined Zero Carbon Buildings (ZCBs) in the Turkish context, shared the obstacles they have faced in implementing highly efficient buildings, recommended actions to prioritize in the roadmap and committed their future time to support the ZCBA.

Baseline assessment

Understanding where the buildings and construction sectors stand today is an important step in designing the building industry of the future and creating a long-term zero carbon vision for Turkey. The baseline assessment was carried out to determine the state of the construction sector in Turkey by examining the current policies, programs, strategies, priorities and practices for the construction sector. The baseline has served as a starting point for Turkey’s zero carbon building national roadmap and related city action plans in Konya and Gaziantep.

Collecting expert opinions

Inputs from the stakeholder workshop were evaluated in conjunction with the findings of the baseline assessment to analyze themes and build a methodology for a stakeholder survey. This methodology is outlined in Figure 4. The assessment areas align with Global ABC’s eight themes, including urban planning, new buildings, existing buildings, building operations, appliances and systems, materials, resilience and clean energy. These themes formed the basis of identifying the main challenges stakeholders saw in achieving zero carbon buildings in Turkey. The categories are the methods through which those challenges might be addressed with the GlobalABC standard practice for ZCB Roadmapping.

Assessment AreasCategories
  • -National Policies 
  • -Buildings (new buildings, existing buildings, building operations, appliances and systems)
  • -Building materials
  • -Renewable energy 
  • -Urban planning and resilience 
  • -National building policies 
  • -Legal regulations
  • -Technology 
  • -Enablers: finance, technical capacity, awareness, data 


The survey targeted a comprehensive stakeholder group representing the building industry ecosystem in Turkey. Stakeholders included national and local government officials, utility providers, the private sector and civil society. The survey consisted of 10 technical questions that asked about the components of defining a ZCB, obstacles to implementing zero carbon buildings, opinions on relevant public policies and suggestions for solutions. Stakeholder responses identified gaps for achieving net zero carbon buildings and pointed to possible tools/solutions to close them. The survey was dispersed to 219 organizations and 81 stakeholders sent in responses. The breakdown of survey respondents is shown in Figure 5.

Following the survey, one-to-one interviews were conducted with 22 key stakeholders identified as holding critical insights on the building sector in Turkey. In the interviews, a semi-structured format was applied to dive deeper into the challenges, existing gaps and potential solutions for achieving a zero carbon market transformation in Turkey. Survey results were also discussed and evaluated with the participants.

WRI Türkiye compiled, synthesized and analyzed the data from the initial workshop, baseline assessment, surveys and one-to-one interviews to build a report of the current state of the building and construction sectors in Turkey, resulting in policy recommendations, as shown in Figure 7. The draft report was shared with all stakeholders, and their feedback was incorporated into the finalized recommendations report. The final report identified seven main obstacles to realizing the transition to zero carbon buildings in Turkey and outlined the recommended actions needed to overcome these in detail. The recommendations most frequently prioritized as most important by workshop, survey and interview participants were defined as short (2030), medium (2040) and long-term (2050) transformative actions that will underpin Turkey’s efforts in preparing a bold and realistic Zero Carbon Building Roadmap.

[1]TÜİK, «Adrese Dayalı Nüfus Kayıt Sistemi Sonuçları, 2021,» 2022. [Çevrimiçi]. Available: https://data.tuik.gov.tr/Bulten/Index?p=Adrese-Dayali-Nufus-Kayit-Sistemi-Sonuclari-2021-45500

[2] Enerji ve Tabii Kaynaklar Bakanlığı, «İstatistikler-Denge Tablolari,» 2022. [Çevrimiçi]. Available: https://enerji.gov.tr/enerji-isleri-genel-mudurlugu-denge-tablolari. [Erişildi: 01 2 2022]