Efficiency and sustainability are thoroughly intertwined in every industry. Still, the degree to which they impact global carbon emissions is nowhere more keenly understood than in the real estate industry.
Stamping out waste in this sector is central to enabling a cleaner, greener future for the construction and operation of domestic and commercial buildings, but how is this being handled right now?
The radical reimagining of meeting real estate needs
There’s no getting around the fact that creating new structures from scratch is carbon-intensive. So businesses are having to rethink their approach to planning construction projects at a fundamental level.
Just as reusability is rising to prominence as a concept in other contexts, it’s being increasingly integrated with the ethos of real estate.
Rather than demolishing old buildings or finding previously unused sites for new developments, there’s an increased focus on finding ways to repurpose existing structures and modernize them to reduce emissions and shrink waste.
Given that 40 percent of carbon emissions worldwide are attributed to the built environment, there is the potential for massive efficiency savings and a vast reduction in material requirements thanks to this approach, without compromising on meeting the needs of a growing population.
The role of technological tools
The other area in which efficiencies are being unlocked, and the carbon footprint of real estate reduced is that of commercial real estate technology platforms like Northspyre.
These tools have evolved to ensure that every decision made over the course of a project is data-driven and thus oriented around a need to keep costs low, reduce delays and, by association, ensure that every aspect of a large-scale operation is more sustainable.
Automation is crucial to the advances being made in this arena at the moment. Rather than humans having to crunch the numbers, look for patterns and carry out tedious reporting by hand, software is brought to bear on even the most complex data sets, gleaning insights from historical info and applying this to current developments to identify areas where efficiency improvements are available.
Better yet, decision-making can now be handled proactively rather than reactively. Managers don’t need to wait for delays to occur and for disasters to strike before dealing with them. Effectively they’re now able to use early warning systems to predict what problems might arise and preemptively switch things up to prevent them.
In this way, it’s not just things like material waste being avoided but also the often hidden or overlooked waste that comes with professionals having their time monopolized by bland yet necessary tasks.
The changing face of building operations
While we’ve focused on the development and construction of real estate so far, it’s worth noting that more carbon emissions are associated with the operation of buildings after they have been built.
Again, this is an area in which technology is positively impacting, with a combination of hardware and software systems affording all sorts of efficiency improvements.
For example, smart devices which can measure and control heating, cooling, and lighting across different spaces in commercial buildings, such as offices and warehouses, are having a transformative impact on emissions and costs alike.
At a time when energy prices are volatile, this is even more relevant, both to businesses and to consumers in domestic properties.
There is no doubt that the ecological and environmental problems facing humanity are significant, and our efforts to combat them need to be ramped up.
The good news is that the real estate industry is making positive progress in this arena, setting an example that others must follow.