Acknowledging the limitations of traditional, mandatory governance instruments (building codes, planning legislation) to achieve low-carbon buildings, governments, firms and other organizations have been experimenting with alternatives. This trend has become known as the 'new governance'. This paper brings together 50 new-governance instruments to understand better this new governance for low-carbon buildings, and what may be expected from it. It finds that new-governance instruments fall short in exactly the same areas as do traditional instruments. It argues for a change in the application of new-governance instruments along three paths to improve their performance.