Occupiers and Developers Step Up Net-Zero Initiatives

As per Colliers report ‘Enabling net-zero Built Environment’, decarbonization of the built sector is a necessary step for a sustainable future. Decarbonization requires rigorous attention across every aspect of building design, construction, and operations. This can range from challenges such as limited availability of low carbon building materials and products, lack of proper installation and training to execute highly energy efficient designs, lack of standardized building codes, costing and durability of sustainable materials, and lack of systems for reusing and recycling construction waste etc.

The real estate sector

Decarbonization of the built environment is complex as the construction sector accounts for about 39% of energy-related carbon emissions emanating from building materials, construction, and operations.

“The real estate sector now has a serious intent to reduce operational emissions over the last few years. Sustainability rating schemes such as LEED and BREEAM have become more popular, signifying the groundwork towards green buildings. At the same time, it is important for businesses to address net zero built environment throughout the life of a building. This starts from material procurement and supply chain to construction completion, and, importantly, building maintenance. These can be done through aggressive R&D resulting in innovation, and adopting an inclusive approach towards decarbonization”, says Antao Argenio, COO, Colliers India.

The real estate sector

Developers’ approach
There is a perceptible shift seen in developers’ preferences towards developing high performing assets to reduce environmental impact. Typically, green buildings are seen to have higher occupancy levels and rental premiums. This has led developers to prioritize sustainability in their real estate portfolios. Their aim is to:
  • Adopt design-led approach wherein measures for decarbonization start from the planning stage.
  • Address areas for improvement in existing buildings, especially in terms of renovations and replacement of materials.
  • Aim for green certifications in early stages of construction.
  • Efficient management of carbon during deconstruction of building through recycling and reusing residual waste.
Occupiers’ approach
Owing to the benefits such as lower operational costs, improved indoor environment, low carbon footprint, and stronger brand positioning, occupiers are increasingly preferring high performance buildings. Green buildings also give higher returns and increased workforce productivity.

The real estate sector

Occupiers and developers are increasingly collaborating by entering into green leases, as they advance their commitments towards net-zero transition. Green leases are agreements between landlords and occupiers where both parties undertake specific responsibilities to improve environmental performance of the building.

“Decarbonization of the built sector is pivotal in achieving global carbon reduction goals, paving the way for a more sustainable and greener and an inclusive future. It is imperative to adopt a lifecycle approach from construction to operation and maintenance, and the final disposal of the built structure. This necessitates a collaborative approach amongst investors, developers, and occupiers, to achieve net-zero commitment. They need to identify aspects and create strategies around sustainability, to especially lower carbon emissions,” informs Vimal Nadar, Senior Director & Head of Research, Colliers India.

The real estate sector

Government’s approach
  • Increasing investments in R&D
  • Create standardized building codes
  • Provide incentives for green retrofitting and development of high-performance buildings
  • Targeted education at various levels
The Government is also currently revisiting its existing environment policies and is making efforts to make them more holistic and comprehensive. Initiatives such as Green Hydrogen Policy, National Solar Mission are expected to further boost decarbonization efforts in the country.
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