Health impacts of climate change on the indoor environment

A report recently published in the journal Environment International highlights health risks associated with climate-induced change to indoor environments. The report explored four key consequences on indoor environments: overheating, reduced ventilation, indoor air quality (which may lead to the growth of pathogens) and biological contamination such as pest infestations or airborne infectious diseases. Climate change is expected to amplify existing health risks already associated with these categories. This is not very surprising and will only stretch the public health purse further if climate change is not tackled.

More information via Science Direct and the European Commission.

Global green building sector to double by 2018

A major new survey reveals the proportion of building companies planning to secure green certification for over 60% of their projects will increase from 18% to 37% by 2018.

Over 1000 building professionals and 69 countries were surveyed for the report, carried out by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation.

“The survey shows that global green building activity continues to double every three years,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at United Technologies Corporation, in a statement. “More people recognise the economic and productivity value that green buildings bring to property owners and tenants, along with the energy and water benefits to the environment, which is driving the green building industry’s growth. It’s a win-win for people, planet and the economy.”

Full article via Business Green.

70% of organisations on the road to ESOS compliance

Latest figures from the Environment Agency show 6000 organisations have complied with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.

In the two days before 29 January deadline, the agency received a further 1,015 notifications of compliance. This last-minute action reflected earlier fears of a slow start to compliance by organisations covered by the scheme.

More information via The Environmentalist

Air Pollution: UK Environment Ministers face court action within weeks

UK environment ministers will be taken to court within weeks to make them speed up plans to reduce dangerous urban air pollution.

Law firm ClientEarth, which last year forced the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to come up with fresh plans to tackle illegal NO2 levels in British cities, warned that it would seek urgent court action because thousands of people’s lives were at risk if present government plans were not strengthened.

Under new plans revealed before Christmas, Defra promised clean air zones for five cities by 2020 in addition to one already planned for London. But it will still take at least five years to clean up pollution in many cities, including Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Andrews said that ClientEarth would go to the high court by 17 March and would ask for the case to be fast-tracked because people’s lives were at risk. Nearly 6,000 people die prematurely each year in London alone because of NO2,according to one study.

NO2 pollution limits for the whole year were breached in Putney high street and Knightsbridge just one week into 2016 . These state that maximum hourly nitrogen dioxide concentrations are not exceeded for more than 18 hours a year.

Full article can be read via the Guardian here.

The World Health Organisation describes global air pollution as a ‘public health emergency’ with countries such as China, India and Pakistan the worst affected. Full story via the Independent.

Two tech giants, Microsoft and IBM have developed smog forecasting technology to help make the air breathable again in China. Full story via the Huffington Post.

Integrating Climate Risks in Real Estate

Real Estate Investor members of UNEP FI, CERES – INCR, IGCC, IIGCC, PRI and the RICS believe it is economically and practicably feasible for the real estate sector to play a significant role in limiting global temperature increase to 2°C.

The Integrating Climate Risks in Real Estate paper summarises key roles, risks and opportunities for real estate investors.

Important facts to note:

  • The building sector consumes approximately 40% of the world’s energy and contributes to 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The global universe of investable real estate is worth about $50 trillion.
  • New buildings can easily be built to use 30-50% less energy than required by most energy codes dating back to 2005.
  • There is growing evidence across geographies that a climate friendly and sustainable real estate sector can both preserve and increase asset value.
  • Technology and operating processes are currently being used to improve energy efficiency of existing building portfolios by a further 2-4% each year.
  • The scale of the investment opportunity in energy efficiency building retrofits globally will rise to US$300 billion annually by 2020 and is supported by a robust business case.
  • Yet, the current rate of investments is a fifth of that required to stay within the desired less than 2°C pathway.

 

Further reading relating to the real estate sector and the recent events at COP21:

FM World: Business Pledges Huge Building Carbon Cuts 

GreenBiz: Why Tackling Climate Change is Good for Business 

GreenBiz: 4 City Initiatives out of COP21

GEF: A report on Sustainable Cities and the approach to attempt to promote urban sustainability.

How Energy Efficiency Cuts Costs for a 2°C Future

A new report (from a consortium of groups led by Fraunhaufer ISI) — “How Energy Efficiency Cuts Costs for a 2° C Future” — analyses how energy efficiency policies and programs in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Mexico, and the U.S. can reduce the cost of economy-wide de-carbonisation by up to $250 billion per year for these regions, with no net cost to society through 2030.

About 40% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originate from energy use in industry, transport, and buildings, and another 25% from power generation (IPCC 2014). A highly efficient use of energy is thus fundamental to limit GHG emissions. Yet, energy efficiency receives much less attention than the de-carbonisation of the energy supply.

The report explains how energy efficiency can be a low-cost pathway to keeping global warming to the critical 2 degrees Celsius mark. They stress it’s benefits compared to a highly expensive energy intensive pathway that focuses primarily on de-carbonising energy supply with more limited energy efficiency policies to help achieve a 2° C future.

Read related articles via Greenbiz and ClimateWorks

The Value of Sustainability in Commercial Buildings

Our Managing Director, Chris Bennett, in interview with BRE Conferences considering some of the key sustainability issues for investors ahead of the 40 Percent Symposium.

Catch Chris at the 40 Percent Symposium on 18 November 2015.

Regulatory Energy Regime under Review

Last week, the UK Government announced plans to review the business energy tax landscape to consider approaches to simplify and improve the effectiveness of the regime.

This message was circulated to all CRC, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and Climate Change Agreement participants (who have been further advised to continue to participate in the various schemes until further notice).

This news is in part welcome but also worrying.  Current energy legislation is confused and uncoordinated – this must be addressed.

By way of example, last year, the Government issued consultation on plans to (amongst other options) scrap use of Display Energy Certificates.  At the same time the ESOS scheme was in process of being rolled out.  One of the core compliance approaches referenced in ESOS is … use of Display Energy Certificates!

The structure of regulatory requirements surrounding energy is confusing and a revised coordinated, and structured approach designed to help business understand energy and carbon emissions, whilst appropriately incentivising improvement, would be welcome from me.

However, over-simplification will ultimately make UK business less competitive. Furthermore, if the Government take a similar approach to that taken for Zero Carbon homes plans last week (i.e. scrapping everything) then we should be very worried indeed.

The Government has committed to launching a formal consultation in the autumn and I strongly encourage participation.

 

Goodbye GRESB (until September)!

So that’s GRESB done.  This year we supported many of our clients to complete their GRESB submission on a pan-European basis. It may be an onerous and tough task to complete but I personally applaud the GRESB approach. The industry pays increasing attention to the survey results (released on 2nd September) and I believe, over time, that it will help drive real change as participants strive to achieve Green Star ratings (whilst those already there, work to maintain their status).  The questions are broad ranging, covering everything from environmental policy to management of bribery & corruption.  This should not be surprising as GRESB is designed to be a broad sustainability benchmark.

We also felt that the prior experience of both the participants and GRESB helped in the completion of this year’s survey.  Pre-population of last year’s answers speeds up the process and the online survey is, for the most part, intuitive and easy to navigate around.  We also participated in the GRESB training earlier in the year, and this along with improved guidance, also helped.

However, there were still challenges.  The unique way in which GRESB requires performance data to be entered is understandable (to enable performance analysis), but always creates challenges.  Electricity consumption for directly managed assets can, for example, be entered under a variety of categories, i.e. whole building, shared services, landlord procured tenant consumption and tenant procured tenant consumption.

Consumption must also be reported for 2 years to benefit from like-for-like comparison.  This must then be repeated for different fuel types across all asset classes separately and aligned to floor areas reported earlier in the survey.  Participants then move on to water and waste.  Our experience is that many clients do not hold their data in this way and so, a lot of work to ensure accurate reporting is required.

Thankfully, this year, we had SIERA, a sustainability management software system designed specifically for the investor real estate market, which contains a GRESB reporting module.  The practical and intuitive nature of the system enables designation of data to meet GRESB classification requirements.  A GRESB export function then automatically produces the data at asset level which directly interfaces into the GRESB portal. This has been a fantastic resource for us and has helped save time and ensure accuracy.

More on SIERA

So, we await the results, with interest.

For those who have now shifted their focus to CRC, SIERA also supports and significantly simplifies the CRC annual reporting requirements – deadline 31 July!

Paul Sutcliffe

Operations Director

 

About EVORA

EVORA is a niche, independent sustainability consultancy specialising in commercial real estate.

For further information on GRESB or any other sustainability issue please contact Chris Bennett at cbennett@evoraglobal.com; 020 3326 7333.

 

About GRESB

GRESB (the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) uses a consistent methodology across different regions, investment vehicles and property types, to evaluate the sustainability performance of both private and listed real estate portfolios. Over the past five years, participation in GRESB has continued to increase and GRESB is fast becoming the sustainability survey of choice for the real estate sector to benchmark portfolio performance. In 2014, a total of 637 property companies and funds participated in the GRESB survey, equating to approximately 56,000 assets, with an aggregate value of USD 2.1 trillion.


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

GRESB Deadline Approaching!

With just over a month left before the submission deadline, there is still time to sign up for GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) and complete the sustainability survey that is fast becoming the benchmark for portfolio performance in the real estate sector.

EVORA has helped a wide range of institutional investors to complete the survey. Our experience and relationship with the GRESB team has enabled us to provide comprehensive client support. Our services extend beyond basic GRESB support. In many cases, we have worked with clients to improve sustainability practice and performance. This has been demonstrated by significant year on year improved GRESB results.

We can provide support to complete the submissions and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

Our sustainability management software, SIERA, enables full GRESB Performance Indicator reporting. With SIERA, you have the confidence of a robust database to hold and model your data, combined with the familiarity and flexibility of Excel for all your reports.

Contact EVORA today to discover how we can help with GRESB and other sustainability benchmarks.

info@evoraglobal.com


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.