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The aspect of sustainability has fast become an important feature in the world. Citizens, companies, industries and governments are increasingly aware of the effect of current choices on the state of the world in the future. The property sector in particular has a vital role to play in developing a sustainable and greener environment because of its significant use of land and materials.

Real estate is an asset class that is key to the development of a sustainable world. On a global scale, buildings contribute as much as 30 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40 percent of the world’s energy. These numbers are a reflection of the importance that humans have placed on real estate; a lot of time is spent in buildings, so it’s only natural that these structures consume a large portion of energy.

Furthermore, as more individuals seek to live in populated areas, the responsibility of the real estate sector to play a part in mitigating climate change by reducing the impact of properties on the environment becomes weightier. This explains why aspects such as the use of better building practices and the use of environmentally-friendly materials have become key issues in the sector.

In the UK, the British Property Federation (BPF), which is the voice of the nation’s real estate industry, has acknowledged the need for the property industry to play a role in shaping a greener future. The BPF knows the opportunity that lies within the sector to make a difference, especially when it comes to driving low carbon growth. BPF acknowledges the concerns of the Green Finance Taskforce that point out the importance of having a smart regulatory framework and clear leadership if the sector is going to play a part in the transformation of the environment.

The role of regulation is clear, and the BPF points to the implementation of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) that stipulate the need for high energy efficiency standards in tenancy. Additionally, the organisation highlights that investors can play a part in achieving a greener future. By placing environmental efficiency as a key goal, investors can help in the construction of property portfolios that reduce operation costs, enjoy energy efficiency, and stay well ahead of any policy changes yet to be made.

The call for the property sector to help create a sustainable future is one followed keenly by many professionals, including Ali Seytanpir, who is an active member and participant in events held by property development associations such as the BPF.

Concerted Efforts

An appreciation for the world’s finite natural resources is part of the reason why there is a renewed focus on reducing waste and damage to the environment. By focusing on how to consume natural resources moderately, real estate professionals are gaining ways of making a difference and helping their organisations take up the sustainability challenge. From building design to waste reduction measures, sustainability is being integrated into many facets of the built environment.

Various initiatives have been implemented to help address sustainability. One solution is the implementation of green lease agreements, which are used by property owners and tenants to maximise the sustainable aspects of the buildings they work or live in. The owners and tenants can reach an agreement where the tenant recycles waste responsibly while using energy-efficient equipment and appliances. On the other hand, the property owner agrees to install fixtures and systems that conserve energy, reduce the consumption of water, and enable good waste management and recycling opportunities. The combined efforts of the two sides contribute to environmental sustainability.

Property developers have a role to play in the sustainability discussion. New property developments have to conform to new standards, and there are incentives for developers to adhere to the environmentally-friendly regulations. By incorporating sustainability technologies and practices early in the building process, developers can come up with built environments that are guarded against future policy changes and have a better commercial advantage.