Failure in sustainability for construction | economy

The European real estate sector is leading other regions in terms of sustainability and decarbonisation. But the road is hard and the big dark shadows still cross them. The key appears at the bottom of the system. While the demand for green buildings is advancing, the biggest problems remain in construction itself. “Carbon dioxide emissions in the construction sector are at historic highs,” says a RICS study published this Wednesday, which coincides with the celebration of the COP28 climate summit. “The sector is not yet on track to achieve decarbonisation by 2050”, says one of the world’s most prestigious associations of real estate professionals (and dedicated to issuing certificates of good practice).

New Sustainability Report The London-based association is based on a survey of 4,600 professionals from around the world. The starting point is that buildings account for 40% of global emissions, which is why the United Nations has called for significant reductions in these emissions until neutrality is reached by 2050. So, I sought their views on the matter.

To begin with, most of them promise the growing demand for eco-friendly properties. According to what happened in 2022 and 2021, the difference between those who believe this and those who think otherwise is 44 points. “This suggests that appetite for green buildings continues to grow worldwide,” the study’s authors note. But this difference is not equal everywhere. In Europe (apart from the United Kingdom, the only national market analyzed separately due to the British origin of the system) it reaches 73 points, while in the United States it does not reach 30.

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Respondents were also asked whether they believed an efficient building would have more value or allow for higher rents, again with the most positive response (27% saying the impact was significant) in Europe. Globally the most sought-after attributes include energy efficiency, green certification, indoor air quality and temperature, and efficiency in water use. And regional differences in accents are noticeable: the first aspects are highly valued by European experts from the perspective of investors and from the perspective of tenants, while the rationale of water stands out in the answers given by respondents from the middle. East.

Apart from climatic conditions, the study found another powerful reason to explain the different sensitivities regarding the issue. “The analysis suggests that policies may play an important role,” the report says. In that sense, he highlighted that “Europe’s slightly more robust numbers may respond to the European Commission’s ambitious legislation” requiring all new construction to be emission neutral by 2028 and improving that objective for public buildings to 2026. But other initiatives related to building certification (a business clearly of interest to RICS) stand out in the Middle East and Singapore.

On the negative side, the “barriers” that prevent rapid progress stand out. They are essentially financial, as the three reasons cited by those surveyed are that potential investors in sustainable buildings are wary of high costs and uncertainty about the returns they will receive. The report’s biggest blemish is its focus on construction-from-a-business called the commercial real estate sector (that is, buying and selling buildings or earning income from them). More than half of those surveyed responded that their companies do not measure the cost of carbon emissions involved in their operations, which is considered fundamental to moving towards climate neutrality.

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In this, further, regional differences are reduced. That said, the outlook is inspiring everywhere. “Globally, a quarter of respondents believe that government emission pricing policies are effective in controlling greenhouse gases and managing climate risks,” the RICS report says. Only half of respondents said demand for recyclable and reusable products has increased in the past year, compared to another half who believe it has stagnated or decreased. “He Sustainability Report “This is a wake-up call for our industry: we are making progress, but not enough to reach zero emissions by 2050,” summarizes the company’s president Tina Paylet in the introduction. “In fact, the picture is one of an industry reluctant to pursue a low-carbon future,” he adds.

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