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Is the sustainability of the real estate market down to decarbonisation?

Property developers and investors need to recognise the financial benefits of sustainable practices.


Pedro Rutkowski CEO Worx
Pedro Rutkowski CEO

The concept of sustainability has become increasingly important in various industries and the real estate market is no exception; as the world faces the challenge of climate change and lack of resources, the focus on decarbonisation has dominated discussions about sustainability in the real estate sector. However, it is essential to broaden our perspective and recognise that sustainability in the real estate market goes beyond mere decarbonisation.


Undoubtedly, a commitment to decarbonisation in this segment is fundamental: buildings are responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions (39% worldwide), making architecture, design and construction, if energy efficient, a crucial success factor. Implementing renewable energy sources, improving insulation and optimising energy management systems are all effective ways of reducing the carbon footprint. However, directing all efforts towards decarbonisation alone means ignoring other crucial environmental factors, such as water and resource management, waste reduction and biodiversity conservation. Sustainable property practices require consideration of all aspects to ensure long-term environmental viability.


Sustainability should not be seen as an obstacle to economic growth, but rather as a catalyst for long-term economic viability.


Property developers and investors need to recognise the financial benefits of sustainable practices. Energy-efficient buildings not only reduce operating costs, but also attract tenants and buyers who prioritise sustainability, and there are more and more of them. Moreover, incorporating sustainable design and construction techniques can increase the market value of assets, contributing to their long-term resilience. By embracing sustainability, it is possible to achieve financial gains and a competitive advantage in the property market.


The property market must embrace technological innovation to achieve sustainability goals. Smart buildings equipped with advanced monitoring and control systems can optimise energy consumption, improve comfort and reduce waste. The integration of IoT devices and data analysis enables real-time monitoring and performance optimisation, resulting in more efficient use of resources. In addition, innovative materials and construction techniques, such as modular construction and sustainable materials, can reduce environmental impacts and increase the overall sustainability of any property project.


To promote sustainability in the property market, effective support and governance policies are essential.


Governments can and should incentivise developers to adopt sustainable practices through tax breaks, subsidies and simplified licensing processes. Building codes and regulations should prioritise energy efficiency, environmental standards and accessibility. Collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with stakeholder engagement, are vital to shaping policies that promote sustainability and ensuring their effective implementation.


While decarbonisation is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of sustainability in the real estate market, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach that considers the multidimensional nature of sustainability. Environmental considerations, social aspects, economic viability, technological innovation and governance will have to be an integral part of real estate practice in a future that has to start now.


Opinion article by Pedro Rutkowski, CEO of Worx Real Estate Consultants, published in AWAY Magazine on 12th July 2023


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