real estate is the significant entity shaping our sustainable future.

Sustainability embraces a sense of stewardship for the natural environment, harmonious with business’s ethical and professional conduct. What haunts our climate and environment most is carbon emission, which we do not see with our bare eyes. Coming into our daily lives, real estate is the significant entity shaping our sustainable future. Can you imagine how many buildings do we need to keep us safe and warm? The global population will surpass 8 billion by 2030. Over 60% of the world’s population (4.9 billion people) will be living in urban environments. Economically, 61% of global GDP will converge on the largest 750 cities. We will demand 260 million new homes, 540 million m2 of new office space, and 60 million new jobs in industry (World Economic Forum).

The severity of climate change has been shaping our way of livings and doing. On the other way round, our actions alter the climate. The moment right now is not to maintain the emission level to prevent climate change but to recover the environment from severe damage. According to World Economic Forum, the real estate sector consumes more energy than any other sector. Carbon emission measurement is complex. World Economic Forum urges this notable CO2 emission of the real estate sector to wake up from the critical situation derived:

  • The sector uses over 40% of global energy yearly;
  • 20% of total global greenhouse gas emissions start from buildings;
  •  There is a forecasted 56% jump in building CO2 emissions by 2030;
  • A 7% increase in the proportionate portion of global GHG emissions is foreseen by 2030;
  • Buildings hire 40% of raw materials globally.

World Bank estimates a 1.25% reduction in annual energy consumption and a 3% reduction in annual emissions from the real estate sector will be closer to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The new non-CO2 emitting energy for the built environment is the ultimate target to save our earth.

Therefore, we have green buildings. It is expected that commercial buildings with green elements to rise to 55% in 2020. Lower operating cost is the decisive driving factor to trigger green building popularity (World Green Building Trends Report). Marketably, green buildings support brandings and public relations. When it comes to corporate social responsibility, it is the right thing to do. What about the investors’ preferences? JLL, a global commercial real estate services company, unveils that 50% of investors across the APAC region, including Australia, China, India, Japan, and Singapore, will prioritise green-certified real estate for the corporate occupiers’ commitment to net zero. JLL claims 70% of APAC companies are unhesitant to pay a rental premium to rent sustainability-certified buildings at the business operation level.

Besides the target of the 1.5°C and all of the economic perspective, the corporates would find it hard to apprehend the green building value chain where the sustainability lies from Design, Construct, Buy, Sell and Rent, Manage, Retrofit, and last but not most minor, End of Life. At the design and construction stage, the builders have to put the followings in their mind:

  • environmental monitoring
  • green building specialist assessments such as noise from building equipment
  • life cycle costing
  • water saving or reduction estimations
  • water quality survey
  • indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • thermal comfort measurements
  • construction IAQ management
  • room acoustic and vibration, etc.

Intelligent technologies are undoubtedly one of the viable solutions. World Economic Forum reveals that innovative technology for new buildings saves c.44 Mt CO2e. World Cities Submit presents that the use of virtual technology reduces 20 percent of heat gain. What are these intelligent environmental initiatives in real estate?

Data Management Platform
It is a digital dashboard available for universal accessibility as long as with the Internet connection. The dashboard keeps track of key performance indicators (KPIs) – for example, energy use, water usage, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By forecasting risks, the property owners can minimise asset depreciation and essential maintenance expenditure. The energy consumption can be adjusted to the efficiency level.

Photo above: ESG dashboard to record greenhouse gases emission and resources consumption for a more efficient management

Digital Inspections and Predictive Maintenance
The asset performance goes downward because of getting old. Predictive maintenance with a designated dashboard can identify inefficient operation in advance, which would lead to further use of energy, carbon emission, and eventually higher operating cost. Utilising the modern Internet of Things with the digital platform masters the laborious tasks for humans inspections. The preventive act has a legitimate aim – when the potential failure can cause a severe casualty, property owners have the responsibility to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure. Preventive maintenance practice has been proved by the outstanding accuracy and the cost reduction result.

Video above: The bottom line is the final total of an account or balance sheet. In 1994, the bottom line concept was essentially transformed because of the entrepreneur and business writer John Elkington. The triple bottom line was coined. The three bottom lines (Profit, People, and Planet) harmonise seamlessly with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) that the corporates are coping with nowadays. But how to practice sustainability, based on an accounting framework.

Buildings have a lifespan of 50-80 years before they are demolished and replaced. Property owners who have a passion for achieving sustainability in their properties should also consider the end of life and zero waste construction and retrofit and adaptation for Life-Span Extension. All of the above are professional environmental practices. Engage a digital and ecological expert to support your projects to achieve a higher environmental standard in compliance with relevant credit requirements.

Video above: Do you know? According to the official website, BEAM Plus, formerly known as HK-BEAM (first initiated in 1996), is one of the most widely used voluntary green building certification schemes of its kind globally, on a per capita basis.
Video above: Managed service is the outsource practice to support the project managers at ease with the critical, time-consuming administration and management tasks. Why outsource the critical tasks? What are the advantages in hiring managed service?

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: 
https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday NewerYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What to define the electric vehicle’s effectiveness

The government of Hong Kong has published the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035” in June 2021. We had no surprise that the content addresses air quality from the subject – the undeniable health and well-being issue. One of the suggesting measures is the electric vehicle (EV). But here, we should be alarmed that dealing with carbon emission for air quality is somewhat different from dealing with the climate change risk. The EV effectiveness is all based on the aim we target to assess.

Fossil fuel is the notorious carbon emission root. We immediately feel the carbon emission from the land transportation by its exhaust fumes. Vehicular emission poses health risks to bystanders. Another seemingly remote source of air pollution is marine and air transports. Faraway as it may seem, scholar unveils that we had seventy per cent of ship emissions within four hundred kilometres of land (Eyring et al. 2010). Marine transport is no less during the COVID-19 period. It is the cheaper means of transport if compared with air freight. That is why the shipping demand increases because of globalisation, which is becoming the origin of pollution.

The link above: A webinar by Heliox, a world leader in charging infrastructure and power conversion for commercial electric mobility at Matters Academy

The electric vehicle is an alternative technology that produces less waste and is less harmful to well-being, recognised by todays’ news. Figures from one of the intelligent energy management solution providers, Heliox, has shown that EVs may potentially reach the targets of reducing over ninety-seven per cent of NOX, ninety per cent of carbon emission and sixty-six per cent of particulate emissions. EV development issues are still at the early stage as a whole, revealed in the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035”. With such an alluring good number of potentially reduced, why is the adoption of the EV technologies slow? The answer may be found at the Pillars of Design Philosophy (Heliox).

The photo above: Pillars of Design Philosophy (information provided by Heliox)

The Pillars of Design Philosophy segments different stages of building an EV compatible program. Each step has to meet certain specifications to implement the EV infrastructure – whether the grid can support the EV facilities, the depot characteristics, what charging strategy is suitable, the connectivity, equipment and maintenance such as charger care and connectivity services. All of these explains well the likely high cost incurred for EV adoption and the difficulty.

All of the above are proposed based on the clean air subject. Does it necessarily imply EV dealing with the more thorny issue – climate change? Remind that EV charging gets to feed on electricity generation and charging facilities. Carbon Brief, an online platform that won investigative journalism, had the following findings (source – https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change):

  • “EVs are responsible for considerably lower emissions over their lifetime than conventional (internal combustion engine) vehicles across Europe as a whole.”
  • “In countries with coal-intensive electricity generation, the benefits of EVs are smaller, and they can have similar lifetime emissions to the most efficient conventional vehicles – such as hybrid-electric models.”
  • “However, as countries decarbonise electricity generation to meet their climate targets, driving emissions will fall for existing EVs, and manufacturing emissions will fall for new EVs.”
  • “Comparisons between electric vehicles and conventional vehicles are complex. They depend on the size of the vehicles, the accuracy of the fuel-economy estimates used, how electricity emissions are calculated, what driving patterns are assumed, and even the weather in regions where the vehicles are used. There is no single estimate that applies everywhere.”

Be aware that EV is not the panacea for our burning climate issues. Without a detailed assessment, it is hard for us to realise the real impact of EVs on climate change. So far, the information we have found implicates the best possible cure for climate change is non-fossil fuel energy generation. While we are queuing to advance to the next genuine sustainability era, we apply modelling to analyse energy consumption to tackle the problem right in front of us as an environmental consultancy.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

How and in what scope could businesses monitor the operation’s carbon footprint when they begin to pay attention to the issue?

The clock is ticking. Evidence from implementing environmental taxes, climate strikes, reporting requirements, and investors’ preferences are our sustainability landscapes have to be taken in full swing.

When discussing climate risks, we designate carbon emission as the fundamental parameter in evaluating ones’ achievements, individually and organisationally. Carbon emission is not purely a number; we should deliberately take the operational manner as a whole to target dropping our carbon footprint. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted that 630 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV power and 390 GW of wind power need to be affixed to the global energy system by 2030.

Businesses would have been confused about how and in what scope they could monitor the operation’s carbon footprint when they begin to pay attention to the issue. We can imagine how enormous steps and procedures businesses have to appraise. According to GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, businesses should always measure the direct carbon emission from their facilities, vehicles and the indirect purchase of electricity stream, heating, and cooling for their use. Companies will have to look at the upstream and downstream activities extending the care to the value chain, vision, and missions to influence lobbying.

Internally, both top-down and bottom-up act together to guide the target setting. From top-down to set the target of boundary, select the base year to monitor, the year to meet the target, to bottom-up to define the hierarchy of actions and mitigations by Prevent, Reduce, Substitute, Neutralise, and Compensate.

Photo above: Bottom-up approach example – a car manufacturer, Source: Adapted from WWF’s Carbon Mitigation Hierarchy (source: Singapore Exchange, 2021, Credible decarbonisation and transition for corporates in Asia)

Strategically, how to take mitigation actions for the climate? 1.5°C Business Playbook, an open-source guideline aiming to help achieve a critical mass of companies aligned with a 1.5°C pathway, urges us to focus on a Four-pillar Climate Strategy. They are:

Pillar 1) company’s activities to reduce its emissions;
Pillar 2) company’s actions to reduce its value chain emissions;
Pillar 3) alignment of the company’s vision, strategy, value proposition, products, and services with the 1.5°C goals;
Pillar 4) contribution to the 1.5°C ambition ahead of your own business, for instance, influencing government policy, establishing industry initiatives

Photo above: from THE 1.5°C BUSINESS PLAYBOOK

It is often to think about the carbon footprint as giant corporates’ responsibility because of their operation size, adherent risks, stakeholders involved, and their influence in the industry sector. Big corporates for sure have bargaining power in enforcing carbon footprint reduction throughout the supply and operational chains. Applying the Four-pillar Climate Strategy, businesses of any size can spot the idea of addressing their impacts under different pillars to reduce carbon footprint. 1.5C Business Playbook suggests that Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) should reduce their footprint based on pillar one. SMEs can reach pillar two when they select their suppliers. When SMEs have gained competency in designing green products and services, they will go to pillar three to embed a 1.5°C vision into the business strategy.

What about the community which the group is considering as passive in the role of decarbonisation? Under Carbon law, researchers anticipate we would phase out coal consumption by 2030 and oil by 2040. Why is that? Researchers perceive green energy doubles every five years, while carbon emissions bisect per decade – this is Carbon law. It can be applied to everyone: companies, cities, nations, and citizens. Carbon law is a reminder to us of the ambitious roadmap to decarbonisation. Harnessing the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and reducing CO2 emissions from land use, researchers envision zero global emissions by 2050.

However, this hypothetical exercise in decarbonisation remains unknown how emission-reduction strategies will play out in the real world. At this moment, we should probably rely on ourselves to minimise our carbon footprint. Businesses have extensive guidelines and dashboard in helping them to manage a decarbonised operation. The communities should start from our daily lifestyle, from selecting the transportation method, choosing vegan meals, to driving the business to provide genuinely green products and service through careful consumption.

Photo above: ESG Dashboard streamlines the collection of relevant data and information from the issuer’s business operations, enabling listed companies to monitor their ESG reporting progress. 

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: 
https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday NewerYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)