The green shoots of growth
Sustainability is not just about energy use or meeting today’s regulation. It’s about how buildings are aligned with the long-term picture of environmental, social and economic impacts across their lifecycle. While sustainability sits among the top strategic priorities of many organisations, we find a lag between strategy and action to improve buildings. Those which do not embed sustainable outcomes in their development, operation and transaction processes will face significant costs and loss of value to catch up as more progressive regulation and market expectations take effect.
Sustainability standards on the rise
Our research found there is a growing importance of sustainability, but relatively little action. Our respondents predict that sustainability targets will become stricter in the next three to five years. For those not already on track to meet higher sustainability standards, they will be faced with additional works in the near future.
Risks of higher standards ahead
When asked how building performance is likely to change over the next three to five years, 76% of investors and developers view stricter sustainability targets as the biggest risk ahead for their property portfolio. Taking the right action today is the best way to mitigate those risks.
The most important standards for a highly performing building
When it comes to measuring building performance, our respondents consider energy standards such as energy performance certification (EPC) as the most important certification, even above environmental certifications. This is due to their importance to the sale or lease of a building. However, as future legislation encompasses wider set of sustainable objectives, building owners should consider a more holistic view of sustainability.
A growing awareness
70% of respondents considered it important to align building performance with their ESG policy. The question for the sector is this: If sustainability related concerns are also strategic considerations set to influence the way we operate in the next three to five years, how can we incorporate them more fully into today’s building performance decisions?
From strategy to action
When asked how building performance is likely to change over the next three to five years, our findings show that 90% of our respondents predicted stricter sustainability targets, and 76% of investors and developers view stricter sustainability targets as their biggest risk ahead. The government drive towards net zero carbon by 2030, the growing appetite for green funds and organisational commitments to ESG are among the drivers for more sustainable building investment.
Despite the awareness of the growing importance of sustainability, our research found relatively little holistic action. Part of this could be due to a limited understanding of the commercial impacts of sustainable outcomes which aren’t driven by legislation. Many do not appear to look beyond the realm of energy use and minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) targets. The comparatively low importance assigned to other standards suggests that industry stakeholders aren’t linking sustainability with commercial outcomes such as resilience or value in the market.
Many of our clients are taking a longer-term view of building performance to exceed the requirements of today’s legislation and maintain valuable assets into the future. We support them in each part of the building lifecycle, identifying the sustainable potential and the risks.
New developments allow the greatest scope for sustainable design, yet have huge potential embodied carbon risks, which circular economy construction methods or alternative procurement strategies could mitigate. Refurbishment projects present big opportunities for preserving structures, building fabric and services, with the right design and specialist input. As for the leasing cycle, we are currently working to disrupt an inherently wasteful approach to fitting-out and stripping-out commercial spaces, by supporting forward-thinking occupiers and owners to work together and manage the process differently.
How we can help
We’re here to help
For more information on how we can help your organisation improve building performance for more valuable and resilient assets, please get in touch with our expert team today.