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Key Sustainability Considerations For Property Investment And Development Projects

Published: 20/01/2020

Country: Australia

Sustainable developments are usually defined as meeting the demands of the present occupants without compromising the opportunities of the future population to meet their own needs. In regions that are facing property development growth and the population increase, sustainable development is becoming one of the few long-term solutions. While a wide-scale push toward sustainability efforts is still beyond the horizon, property developers need to do their share by engaging in sustainable practices in small steps. Here is what they can do. 


Adapt to climate changes

The landscape of real estate investments often shifts with climate changes, pardon the pun. These days, investors need to include both geographical and environmental information, such as the susceptibility to bushfires, floods, and rising sea levels in the coastal regions. So the location assessment mustn’t only include the overview of the economic and social landscape, but also figure in the potential effects of environmental factors. Climate change has prompted real estate investors to adapt through architectural and design approaches, or adaptation strategies in the case of environmental disasters. 

Plan for energy and carbon efficiency

Reducing energy use and carbon emission has become the number one global environmental initiative. The recent Paris Agreement has called for the involved governments so improve their efforts and address this concern more actively. Property developers can do their part by creating energy plans even before the project commences, so they can see what elements will consume the most energy and how to reduce this, as well as ways to monitor and handle energy use or carbon emission using smart building software. 


Use BIM software

Building Information Modeling (BIM) software allows stakeholders to get a more integrated and informed look into a building project, so they can predict and improve potential problems before they occur. These capabilities make BIM a valuable tool in increasing a building’s energy performance and overall sustainability throughout the planning, design, and construction stages. In the planning stage, the software’s automated features allow designers to create more cost and schedule scenarios, enabling them to think more creatively about different sustainable solutions. In the construction stage, BIM improves the overall effectiveness and productivity of the project by decreasing the number and length of delays, which in return keep the environmental footprint of the site to a minimum.   


Utilize local green building initiatives

Metropolitan areas are setting mandatory requirements for new developments to be both energy and water efficient, with indoor air quality, waste, and spatial management all complying with green standards. Apart from developers and investors, financing institutions also need to recognize the importance of sustainable construction and offer green financing incentives. As a bright example, the Indonesian capital Jakarta’s city council established a special website to help developers meet the guidelines for building plans. What applies for congested metropolitan areas, applies for stunning underdeveloped landscapes such as Indonesian islands, as well, where Invest Islands real estate company is one of the key players spearheading the sustainable development of the region. Helping the investor gain foothold in this promising market, the company has partnered with designers that draw from traditional local architecture to design eco-luxury villas that include holistic and eco-friendly features. 


Eco-friendly materials and products

As you go up the real estate market, more people are actively looking for sustainable properties. It’s not uncommon that developers are asked to source all materials from sustainable suppliers, including but not limited to linseed oil paints and wallpapers made of recycled paper. While such client approaches can be expensive, they pose an interesting challenge for the developer who needs to find the most sustainable products and still stay under the budget. Energy-efficient furnishings like low-power water heaters may cost a few hundred dollars more, but for the sustainable-savvy occupants going the extra mile means they are going to have lower bills in exploitation.


Introduce waste management

From the initial phase to post-development, job sites have had a persistent problem of increasingly generated construction waste. Sustainable disposing of this waste has many benefits for the environment. For starters, construction managers can introduce waste recycling practices, where less waste is sent to the landfill, while some of it can be reused where possible, minimizing new consumption as well.

Adopt a sustainable marketing strategy

Once you implement a real estate development strategy it’s important to integrate it into your marketing strategy as well. With a growing number of clients that prioritize eco-friendliness, you need to communicate the sustainability options that you provide. While the sustainability message should hover above your overall marketing strategy, it’s also important to communicate the long-term value of low-impact developments to your customer or investor. Although most people value sustainability, when it comes to using eco-friendly methods and materials on the project, for many it still sounds like hype and unnecessary expense.

Features and approaches that were once discussed as a trend are now becoming a priority for both property developers and investors. Although client and market demands are the primary drivers of sustainable real estate developments, the larger global concerns like the lack of resources and climate change are also painting the broader picture.

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