As proud sponsors of the Green Property Summit 2023, ESP was delighted to be part of an event that brought together the brightest minds in the green building sector. Co-produced by the NZ Green Building Council and Property Council, the summit was an amalgamation of thought-provoking ideas, insightful discussions, and innovative solutions for a sustainable future. The atmosphere was electrifying, with a multitude of speakers sharing their wisdom with an engaged and passionate audience of property managers, facility managers, and other property professionals.
We were thrilled to see an emphasis on carbon management and data – subjects close to our hearts. These topics underscore the need for a data-driven, environmentally responsible approach in the built environment and the themes that emerged resonate deeply with our commitment to fostering energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
Here’s a breakdown of what we learned:
1. We must build better and improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
There was a growing focus on energy efficiency, which is critical in combating the escalating threat of climate change. Notably, the summit shed light on the necessity of reducing carbon emissions through innovative construction practices. The idea of using less carbon-intensive building materials is not just an aspiration, but a pragmatic approach gaining traction.
Equally exciting was the rise of sustainable energy practices in new and existing buildings. The move towards all-electric appliances, particularly in residential units, signals an encouraging trend towards cleaner, more sustainable energy use.
Residential is just one part of the equation, however, and while remote working is more common than ever, commercial buildings still have a significant role – and responsibility – to play in reducing the carbon emissions of our buildings. Property managers would do well to look to continuous commissioning as a method to ensure their portfolio continues to reduce costs as well as emissions.
2. Accurate and consistent data is mandatory
A pivotal theme was the importance of accurate and consistent data for monitoring energy use and carbon emissions. This is a challenge we at ESP are well-acquainted with and are committed to addressing through our advanced carbon accounting and utility monitoring solutions.
In an era of information, monitoring and carbon management have rightly become mainstream considerations in construction and retrofitting. The challenge, however, lies in collecting consistent data from various tenants in industrial sites – a concern that needs collective effort and innovative solutions.
With Scope 3 emissions now being a mandatory reporting requirement for 200+ organisations (and far more than that reporting voluntarily), it’s only a matter of time before every business will need to prepare for a carbon reporting future.
3. Sustainability starts in design but continues in construction.
The summit reiterated the importance of sustainable building design and construction practices. The industry is waking up to the idea that we can build better by focusing on reusing and recycling materials to reduce waste.
The idea of designing buildings to work harmoniously with nature was another insightful takeaway. Thoughtful planning and design can transform our cities into living systems that are part of a larger ecosystem, contributing to the overall well-being of our planet.
Sustainability credentials are increasingly paramount for investors and tenants alike, driving the construction sector to prioritize eco-friendly practices more than ever before. Speaking of which...
4. Future predictions and standards
A salient point made was the expected expansion of government compliance programs like NABERSNZ. This suggests an upcoming increase in building ratings, signifying a growing awareness about energy efficiency.
Currently, only office buildings are eligible for NABERSNZ ratings, with Green Star offerings broader scope. However, it is still not capturing a large enough number of commercial and industrial properties, particularly when these ratings are only mandatory under certain circumstances.
In the near future, we expect to see energy ratings for buildings, like NABERSNZ and Green Star, become the norm. Buildings without credible ratings may likely face a decrease in capital value, a shift that underscores the importance of sustainability in the real estate sector.
Looking ahead, there is a belief that all new buildings should target a significant reduction in embodied carbon. This could be enforced through building code carbon limits – a transformative change that could reshape the construction landscape. There have already been moves to legislate energy efficiency ratings, where new Building Act amendments may make energy efficiency ratings mandatory for businesses from 2024. Further changes are certainly not outside the scope of possibility – enterprises should prepare for stricter requirements now to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.
At ESP, we are invigorated by these insights from the Green Property Summit 2023. They echo our commitment to building a sustainable future through innovation, responsibility, and efficient energy management. If you missed out on the summit, we hope this blog provides a helpful summary of the key discussions. Let's continue to work towards a greener, more sustainable built environment together.
Ready to learn more about better building performance? Download our free guide to NABERSNZ vs Green Star.