While sustainability, cost savings, and predictability have been known benefits of energy efficient buildings, why haven’t we seen a larger adoption rate of sustainability standards within the industry? As the pandemic has been highlighting the need for tech adaptation and sustainability measures to improve delivery and the longevity of our buildings, can the industry leverage this moment in time to drive forward sustainability in PRS.
After an informative conversation last week during the Building for a Sustainable Future webinar, sponsored by Pinergy, we thought that it would be worth pulling out some of the key points. There was quite a lot covered by the industry leading speakers but these points stood out as particularly interesting. Here are 5 things that we learned from the conversation:
- Although Ireland compares quite favourably with our European and Scandinavian neighbors when it comes to sustainability in construction; we have a long way to go when it comes to regulation. If we are to keep up with the increases in demand on the grid that are coming down the line as more people buy electric cars and cut out carbon from their lifestyles there needs to be more forward thinking regulation and investment in green energy.
- This need for future focused regulation and investment carries over into all aspects of the investing and construction sphere, there is a need to ensure that the whole project is built with sustainability in mind. This is key to get right from the outset so that investments deliver long term value as tenant and buyers are now much more conscious of the impact that they are having on the environment.
- As renters move on from well-built apartment schemes they will take their purchasing power over to residential homes with high expectations of what a modern well built home should have featured as standard. This was highlighted by Peter Bastable, Director at Pinergy, “We are seeing Connected Millennials looking to be more sustainable and demanding insights on how they use energy”. Expect this trend to continue and increase the need for modern home offerings with smart technology.
- Modernisation of the grid in Ireland should be a core priority for future sustainability. If every house in Ireland had an EV car it would double the energy use, if each house then also had a heat pump it would treble. Our energy use needs are only going to increase in the future and the current carbon mix of the grid will not suffice if we are to meet emissions targets. As an example the grid in the UK pushes out half of the carbon of that in Ireland due to investment in offshore wind and turbines. Ireland needs to have a similar investment strategy.
- Sustainability in construction means more than just using the right materials and energy. There needs to be a focus on outdoor spaces, basement spaces – EV charging & share schemes, and efficient amenities. Sustainability of internal fit outs including life cycle and disposal is also an important consideration, the items should have long warranties and be hardwearing to cut down on waste.
There were many more great insights so if you missed the webinar make sure to watch it here: https://www.bisnow.com/webinar/dublin/building-for-a-sustainable-future-5731