TOP3 sustainability solutions in buildings that are easy to implement
Real estate plays an important role in environmental processes. Currently, construction accounts for as much as 42 percent of final energy consumption, 38 percent of global CO2 emissions and 30 percent of water consumption, according to estimates by the European Commission. At the same time, as CBRE points out, 9 out of 10 currently existing buildings will still be in use in 2050, the target year for achieving climate neutrality. This is why implementing ESG elements is so important.
Experts from CBRE highlight several key actions that support on a daily basis environmental protection in buildings.
Aligning properties with sustainability principles benefits both owners and tenants. Owners gain, among other things, an increase in the value and competitiveness of the property for potential and new tenants and investors. Tenants, on the other hand, have the benefit of a modern space, that integrates the community and ensures optimization of operating costs. At the same time, ESG principles are increasingly more and more widely incorporated into companies' strategies, and the office building is one of the key elements of this green policy.
Pawel Kotlarski, director in the real estate management department at CBRE, responsible for supporting companies in implementing ESG strategies.
TOP1. Supporting the greening of tenants
The actions of building users are an important part of the entire ESG chain. Among the initiatives for tenants are such as environmental education through newsletters or e-magazines, pro-environmental building rules and regulations, or reminding about the benefits of utility conservation. In addition, users should have opportunities for physical activity, which are supported by a fitness room or club, bicycle locker rooms with showers, and bicycle parking. It is also worth encouraging use of stairs instead of elevators, if possible.
TOP2. Saving utilities
More efficient use of utilities in a building is not only environmentally friendly, but also cheaper. Hence to this point tenants do not need to be persuaded, as it simply pays off for them. However, it is worth explaining which elements in the building facilitate efficient use of utilities. These include constant monitoring of their consumption, installation of aerators in the taps, signage that encourages saving water, for example, reclaiming rainwater for toilets and watering plants, motion sensors or replacing lighting with LEDs. Systems that show and monitor the current consumption of utilities in a facility are growing in popularity. Thanks to them, users can even more consciously optimize their consumption. In addition, balancing the temperature according to the season (not too high in winter and not too low in summer) or heat recovery from garages.
Increasing the use of electronic communications or electronic media means spending less on paper and preserving trees, while using eco-friendly means during snow removal or facade cleaning helps to reduce the impact of these activities on nature. An essential element of buildings that are compatible with the circular economy is to equip the premises with garbage cans or devices that allow for efficient trash segregation. Sustainable development in social terms is about human health and comfort, so in such buildings tenants should have access to well-maintained greenery inside and outside, as well as water installations such as fountains or graduation towers.
For more solutions, see the guide prepared by CBRE.