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.
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.
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.
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)