Voluntary urban climate programs challenge firms and citizens to reduce resource consumption and carbon emissions at city level but without the force of law. High hopes are expressed about their capacity to accelerate a transition towards low-carbon building and city (re) development. This article explores, maps, and interrogates a global trend of voluntary urban climate programs, with a specific focus on action-networks, performance recognition programs, and eco-financing for low-carbon building initiatives. It finds that, thus far and within the boundaries of the literature reviewed, voluntary programs for building initiatives have not contributed to resource consumption and carbon emissions reductions at a level that will help achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement (i.e., staying under 1.5 degrees C). It concludes with approaches that will help to make better use of these programs.