Real estate professionals must be the ones with the greatest environmental awareness, since they are on the front line of the risk of climate change, due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the real estate sector, we have to be responsible for reducing the impact of our facilities and helping our clients in turn. And, many building owners, investors and occupants are doing exactly that.
Here are five key ways in which many leading companies are managing to reduce their carbon footprint:
- The importance of using renewable energy, as it gives the opportunity to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels that produce GHG and save many costs. Another advantage is that it is possible to implement a renewable energy solution with little or no initial capital investment. By using alternative energy service agreements, potentially, a relatively large company can avoid generating more than 750,000 additional metric tons in the future by adopting additional recommendations.
- Look for green building certifications. Construction and building reforms have a great direct and indirect impact on the environment. The great tendency to adopt the USGBC LEED standards that many property developers have adopted is one of the answers, but other options include programs created by the US Green Building Initiative, the International WELL Building Institute, the Building Research Establishment, the National Association of Homebuilders and other organizations. The proliferation of standards and certifications has helped to ensure that there is currently a growing inventory of efficient, sustainable and high-performance buildings.
- Set emission targets based on scientific evidence. That is, the idea is to acquire the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an objective percentage, based on science. Created by the Carbon Disclosure Project and other nonprofit partners, the approach refers to GHG targets in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep the global temperature rise below 2 ° C, as described in the Paris Agreement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Seeing the advantage of this approach, many companies are developing their plans with the objective, not only to reduce GHGs, but also to boost innovation. Gradually the real estate industry will go to low carbon mode, new technologies and innovative practices in sustainability will emerge, offering the necessary opportunities to help our clients adopt new strategies, thus reducing their carbon footprint.
- Reduce emissions related to energy consumption in construction. As we have already indicated, the construction sector is a large consumer of energy based on fossil fuels, playing an important role in carbon emissions. In order to reduce these emissions, they must adopt renewable energy sources, use the leading construction technologies currently based on reducing energy consumption from any source. This, combined with the intelligent building management tools, based on the Internet of Things, high-efficiency smart buildings will constantly adjust to the situation they are in, so that they run smoothly and avoid wasting energy. These systems, in the workplace, not only reduce the cost of energy, but also support services, contributing greatly to improving the human experience at work.
- Collaborate with facility management providers that invest in environmental sustainability. From paper towels and HVAC parts to window cleaning and landscaping services, commercial buildings use numerous provider services for daily operations. By choosing service providers with strong sustainability practices, they are expanding their GHG reduction efforts. For example, when you hire, waste haulers, check your recycling practices. One way to find out is to partner with platforms such as EcoVadis or Avetta, which are responsible for assessing supplier practices and identifying risks.
Some organizations are adopting the "circular economy" approach that consists of using resources for as long as possible before recycling, recovering source materials, or regenerating new products and materials from the original article.
Your provider's code of conduct is another place to look for GHG reductions. It is important to require that all suppliers, whether those that provide services to us directly or those that do so indirectly, follow a code of conduct that includes environmental requirements. Many offices have adopted a procurement framework based on five levels of sustainable procurement, providing a systematic approach that allows us to measure and monitor our progress in sustainable property acquisitions.