mantro venture studio edition one: Urban Technology

Building ESG: quo Vadis net-zero-carbon real estate

Manfred Tropper
, in
March 14, 2022
— Read time
5 min

As buildings are responsible for about 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, the role of real estate in the discussion of CO2 reduction is a huge one. Despite the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been no setback on ESG investments, making ESG-driven decision-making a substantial growth factor in the sustainable recovery of our economy.

Looking at real estate and those who invested in the built environment, the need for bold decisions to accelerate the move to net-zero carbon gets bigger and bigger.

To tackle this extremely challenging Task – one of the most challenging ones the real estate and construction sector has ever seen – a deep understanding of every building, estate, and portfolio operational performance is mandatory. While no single part of the industry can deliver results alone, no one can sit there and wait. The “Zeitgeist” and the momentum from investors as well as today’s legislation present enormous opportunities. The need for an overall transformation cannot be underestimated and is relevant for all players that play a part in the real estate value chain.

Collaboration is King

With an industry as fragmented as the real estate industry at hand, we can only tackle the monumental challenges by aiming big and embracing true collaboration. The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark aims towards more significant detailed verification To demonstrate the actual performance of today’s common thinking in silos that needs to be replaced by open and integrated communication. Instead of each player being solely focused on their microcosm, an ecosystem approach bringing together investment and funding, development, and asset management need to be established. When we create systems that allow investors, developers, and asset managers to share insights and expertise, we can create a net-zero-carbon built an industry that benefits all.

One of the biggest challenges was coming along with the net-zero-carbon advocation by the World Green Building Council, aiming that all new buildings to be operated at net-zero-carbon by 2030 are existing buildings. About 80 percent of the building stock around 2050 is already constructed. Therefore, the transformation of current assets will be a considerable challenge forcing architects, engineers, constructors, suppliers, and last but not least, the owners to develop retrofit technologies and strategies to create carbon-efficient buildings.

The more countries enforce the modernization of buildings to more sustainable technologies, the faster the transformation can succeed. But efficient design is just the first step of goodwill. Nature and climate will only benefit if the outcome matches the plans. Therefore we must implement detailed monitoring and verification of building performance regarding energy and usage. Legislation can be key here.

We see a high impact of new construction materials on development proposals for both existing and new buildings. There are leading property developers to include whole-life carbon assessments for their developments already at the planning stage. Those assessments can help architects, engineers, and constructors to understand how a building is performing throughout the property life cycle and how mitigation strategies might be implemented.

As energy prices increase tremendously due to global developments, the consciousness-guided thinking of net-zero-carbon environments fuses with the commercial perspective. This development leads to a rapid acceleration in developing innovative, cost-effective, and climate-friendly technologies and solutions.