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Earth Day 2023: How does it impact the real estate and construction industry and how can the sector support it?

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Article posted by Simon Jobson on Apr 21, 2023

Earth Day is celebrated globally on April 22nd to raise awareness of the critical role we all play in safeguarding the environment for future generations.

The World Green Building Council stated that “Buildings are currently responsible for circa 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from the energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.” 

Learning how to make the sector more green

It is clear that the industry’s impact on the environment is still an important issue at next month’s UKREiiF. Over a dozen sessions are being held on the need for the industry to continue to act to produce a greener future. Some panels to note are: 

Creating Opportunities for Nature

• Decarbonisation: The Cost of Inaction

• Designing a Thriving and Sustainable Future in Leicester & Leicestershire

• Going Beyond Net Zero – Key Steps for Investible, Clean Growth

• Greening The Built Environment – What Needs To Happen and Who Needs To Do It?

• Beyond Net Zero – The Path to Success for Sustainable Development

• Financing Net Zero – Who's Going to Pay?

• A Place-Based Cluster Approach – How to Adopt Net-Zero Technology?

• Net Zero Buildings: A Practical Guide to Making it Happen

The goal to reach net zero by 2050 continues to be a challenge, while “the energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions”, the real estate and construction sectors have their part to play in tackling climate change. The sectors have the dual task of reducing carbon emissions both in the creation of new buildings and retrofitting existing ones.

Practically addressing the environmental challenges

However, both sectors have made significant strides towards minimising their impact on the environment and promoting sustainable practices such as:

1. Implementation of green building practices: Incorporating green building practices by using energy-efficient materials, designing buildings to maximise natural light and ventilation, and using renewable energy sources like solar power.

2. Waste Reduction: Strategies to reduce waste have been implemented such as using recycled materials, reducing packaging, and promoting recycling and composting.

3. Use of sustainable materials: choosing sustainable materials for construction, such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, or recycled plastic.

4. Promoting green transportation: Encourage employees and customers to use public transportation, bike or walk to work, and offer incentives for carpooling.

5. Supporting local initiatives: Partner with local organisations working to promote sustainable practices in the community, such as environmental nonprofits or community gardens.

6. Promoting energy conservation: Encourage the use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling systems in buildings.

While green building practices can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts associated with building construction and operations, they won’t mitigate them entirely and Earth Day serves as an important reminder of the responsibility we have to protect our planet for ourselves and for future generations.

As a professional services company, Cobalt neither manufactures anything nor has significant physical operations to manage. Therefore, we know that already we're in the lowest 10 percentile for emissions, but we absolutely must do our bit too - whether that's looking at procurement from coffee pods through to energy providers, recycling facilities or travel arrangements - we are looking at all areas of our operations to reduce emissions further. We'll be looking to our supply chain to demonstrate their commitment and to our employees to consider what more they can do to reduce scope three emissions too.

Continuing the conversation at UK REiiF

With the new regulations around compliance by 2025 and 2030 putting pressure on the real estate market, we are leading the search for senior ESG professionals, sustainability managers, ESG/Energy analysts and other roles that are important to both the environmental and social impact the sector is having

I look forward to seeing you UK REiiF between 16th-18th May, click here to book in a talk with me and the team at the conference.