With the Paris agreement signed seven years ago and COP26 in Glasgow finalised, industries, businesses, and organisations in the built environment have set targets and made plans to comply with the regulations. Consultants will probably be asked to support, advise, and help make emissions reductions in real estate happen to put these plans into action. There is only one challenge: there are not enough consultants to execute plans for all buildings. So how are we going to achieve the goals set for 2030 and 2050?
The solution to this challenge is closer to hand than you might think and has been around for 30 years. Let me give you an example: In the old days, banks had their accounting ledgers. Everything was registered manually, and you had to go to the bank to get cash. Nowadays, we don’t need coins or notes to pay – we can use our phones instead. It’s all been taken care of by computer software and algorithms.
Processes need to speed up to make the required impact and reach the set goals. By using data efficiently, computer software and algorithms can carry out analyses and maths. Online tools can be of great value to get the first insights into investment opportunities and priorities towards sustainable real estate.
With billions of buildings worldwide, the built environment is one of the areas in which significant emissions reductions are required. It is impossible to send a consultant to every building within our limited time frame. Therefore, we need to act smart.
Online tools are already used with great success in the built environment; the industry even invented the word proptech. Digital platforms are used for (energy)bill structuring, facility management, tenant experience and so on. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, why is the use of online ESG data management not yet mainstream?
ESG has been around since 2004, and like all impactful developments, there is a critical mass and positive crowd. Data and research have shown the enormous benefits of ESG. Regrettably, this information is not found nor understood by everyone, and therefore benefits are not directly recognised even though there are so many. With online ESG data management, one plus one becomes three: it’s an efficient use of essential data to contribute to a sustainable world, which will benefit your company.
It’s time the industry moved from the early adaptors phase to the majority phase (Rogers, 1971). We must use our power in our roles as consumers, employees, and investors to spread the word and make the built environment commitment to ESG. And when we reach that tipping point, software enables us to set priorities and act at scale.
At CFP Green Buildings, we started working in 2015 with our own software in the Dutch and UK markets. Since then, we’ve been able to assess 200 times more buildings together with our clients – with the same number of consultants.
New challenges might arise when tackling the major issue of retrofitting our entire existing building stock. I invite everyone to collaborate on this. Please reach out if you have any questions or doubts when it comes to using digital tools when making buildings more energy-efficient and sustainable. Of course, we still need consultants and other stakeholders to reach our 2050 goals, and software is here to help us to do so.
This article is written by Rowan Benning. Rowan works as an independent consultant within the built environment industry. Together with CFP Green Buildings, she is working on making each building in the world sustainable. Rowan holds a BBA in Facilities Management and an MSc in Sustainability. She has worked for several organisations (governmental and commercial) on the energy transition and carbon emissions reduction in the built environment. Over the past years, she has come across many solutions which contribute to fighting climate change, however, online tools and digital solutions are the ones she believes are here to stay and will help make a big impact.
Get in touch with Rowan if you wish to discuss the opportunities towards sustainable real estate.