Low Carbon Financing Specification

New Buildings Institute (NBI) has partnered with PACE Equity to develop a low carbon specification to be used as the basis for specialty financing that rewards projects for pursuing a lower carbon design and construction option. This specification is for new construction and deep renovations of commercial properties. NBI provided the technical development and PACE Equity has developed a larger program around the standard called CIRRUS Low Carbon.

The purpose of creating this first-of-its-kind low carbon building program is to influence real estate developers to make incrementally more sustainable buildings that lead to improved return on equity for the developer and a better carbon footprint for the benefit of the planet. Return on equity is positively correlated to return to the environment.

Improving the performance and reducing carbon emissions associated with the operation of commercial buildings is critical to meeting climate goals. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the construction and operation of buildings accounts for approximately 35% of global energy consumption and 39% of emissions. To be on track to achieve a carbon neutral building stock by 2050, the IEA estimates that carbon emissions associated with buildings would need to decrease by 60% by 2030, or about 6% per year.


CIRRUS™ Low Carbon Verification

In collaboration with PACE Equity, the CIRRUS™ Low Carbon verification, based on NBI’s low carbon financing specification, became available in 2022. The program is powered by PACE Equity financing and validated by NBI.

This groundbreaking approach not only takes the complexity out of C-PACE financing but it provides lower interest rates to developers who make incremental efficiency improvements to buildings. Developers who opt into the program also receive technical and design support, creating a streamlined process that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

CIRRUS™ Low Carbon is the nation’s only private financial product that offers a differentiated cost of capital for low carbon buildings. The savings negate the cost of pursuing high efficiency, lower carbon building performance.

Projects that go through the verification process will receive substantial rate reduction from PACE Equity, tax incentives, reduced energy consumption, among many other advantages.

Efficiency Requirements for CIRRUS Low Carbon – New Construction

Efficiency Requirements for CIRRUS Low Carbon – Redevelopment

Buildings receiving the CIRRUS Low Carbon verification receive the following benefits:

  • Inclusion in the Leaders Circle program, which highlights firms and developers working to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment.
  • Building plaque promoting CIRRUS Low Carbon designation
  • Join press release from your company, NBI, and PACE Equity
  • Promotion at the Getting to Zero Forum
  • Video summary of project story for your promotional use
  • Case Study on PACE Equity website
  • Email & social media promotion about ESG financing for your construction project


For those interested in the NBI developed Low Carbon Financing Specification, please contact Mark Lyles to learn more.