Real Estate and Climate Neutrality: Prioritizing Sustainable Solutions in Cities
The real estate industry plays a crucial role in achieving climate neutrality in cities.
Prioritizing sustainable solutions can reduce energy dependency and associated emissions, while creating healthier and more comfortable indoor environments, and enhancing property values.
Buildings are responsible for a considerable amount of energy consumption and carbon emissions, making them a crucial focus for sustainability efforts. According to the European Commission, buildings account for around 40% of total energy consumption in the EU, with the sector's footprint projected to increase as cities expand. Therefore, prioritizing sustainable solutions is essential to reduce energy dependency and associated emissions.
Optimizing Energy Use and Indoor Comfort
One of the primary ways to reduce energy consumption and emissions in buildings is through the adoption of green building practices. Designing, constructing, and operating buildings in an environmentally responsible way, with the aim of minimizing their impact on the environment. This includes optimizing building orientation, insulation, ventilation, lighting, and heating systems, as well as using renewable energy sources.
Energy efficient and smart buildings have several advantages:
First, they consume less energy, reducing their carbon footprint and energy bills.
Second, they create a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment, improving the well-being of occupants.
Third, they enhance the value of the property, making it more attractive to potential buyers or tenants.
Fourth, they demonstrate the building owner's commitment to sustainability, enhancing their reputation and social responsibility.
“The potential for climate impact in the real estate sector is enormous, and the European Green Deal is great way of politically and financially incentivizing the industry to speed up the green transition. But to accelerate even further, we need a collective effort from developers, architects, builders, and real estate owners. We must all prioritize sustainability in our decision-making, local authorities must regulate sustainable building practices, and the consumers must adopt sustainable behaviours in their everyday lives. The technology is there – sustainable practices must become the norm rather than the exception.”
Mattias Andreassen, Head of Market Segment Real Estate, AFRY
Incentives and Regulations Help Encourage Sustainable Solutions
Several green building certifications, such as LEED, BREEAM, and WELL, provide standards and guidelines for sustainable building design, construction, and operation. These certifications help developers, architects, and building owners to prioritize sustainability in their projects, and they provide a benchmark for measuring a building's environmental performance.
In addition, other sustainable solutions can contribute to achieving climate neutrality in cities. For instance, district heating and cooling systems can reduce energy consumption by distributing heat and cold through a network of pipes rather than individual boilers or air conditioners. Smart building technologies, such as sensors and automation systems, can optimize energy use by adjusting lighting, heating, and cooling based on occupancy and weather conditions. Finally, circular economy principles can minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency by reusing, repurposing, and recycling building materials and components. There are, to conclude, several ways in which the real estate industry can play a significant role in the transition towards climate neutrality.