Blog

Sustainable together

Now is the time for sustainability. We have learned hard-won lessons from Covid-19, and are ready to improve our environment, save the planet, and create sustainable spaces. Making sustainability part of our ‘new normal’, everywhere.

The Covid-19 crisis, with all its dreadful consequences, provides us with a real opportunity to take a different path. In its original Greek, the word ‘crisis’ does not mean ‘disaster’, but ‘turning point’. Consider how, in mere months, we have been able to completely re-organise our lives and our businesses. In the process, we are re-orienting the way we look at our living and working space, at each other, at nature, and at our planet.

There’s much we can learn from these times. It’s true, as writer and activist Rebecca Solnit wrote recently in The New York Times, that no one knows yet what will come out of this crisis. ‘But like so many other disasters, this one has revealed how interconnected we are; how much we depend on the labor and goodwill of others.’

We are indeed all connected, globally and locally. More than ever we are seeing the value of respecting others and working together. Rightly, we’re giving due credit to doctors, nurses, teachers – all those who take risks on our behalf. The virus may be invisible, but the change in outlook and our behaviour is very visible around us. Let’s capitalise on that and work together for a better planet.

In many places, we’re taking measures to ‘flatten the curve’, when it comes to the spread of Covid-19 and its human impacts. But the biggest curve is still to come: the climate crisis.

Both Churchill and Obama famously said to “never waste a good crisis”. This is the moment when sustainability should become the norm in the real estate world. And the moment where impact ventures (companies that aim to improve the world) become a necessity. We need to engage everybody to bring sustainability into the way we run our businesses and our buildings. If we come together, big (real estate corporates), and small (impact startups), we can overcome the challenges we face, and create an even better world.

To flatten the curves of both Covid-19 and climate change is the joint challenge we face. We can turn these trials into positives. Economic welfare and our health go hand in hand with a greener and cleaner planet. We are at a crossroads. We need to act now.

Creating sustainable places and green buildings together
The growing awareness that in post-Covid-19 times we cannot simply return to the ‘old normal’ mirrors closely what’s been happening in recent years around sustainability. When we speak with our clients – people in managing positions in real estate – there is wide consensus: no one can ignore sustainability any longer, and we see an ever-growing concern for well-being and green buildings (30% of carbon emissions are real estate related). In achieving sustainable working and living spaces, active stakeholder engagement has become a no-brainer. Is this strangely the moment we’ve been waiting for to take the next step?

When we founded hello energy four years ago, we considered getting users and managers of buildings on-board as an integral part of a sustainability strategy. We have already shown that the impact of engagement is huge. It has benefited our clients with lower carbon emission, higher scores on ESG reporting, and added value in general. Without all stakeholders on board, we cannot create real green buildings. Engagement is essential, it is the great ‘energiser’ of the whole sustainability process. Working together makes sustainable energy into a ‘people issue’ and leads to a stronger future. Together we can create a better normal.

These troubled times have not slowed down sustainable initiatives. Far from it. Market leaders like Prologis, Bouwinvest, NSI, and M&G Real Estate are making sustainability investments even more central to their strategy. They already have long term visions ingrained in their investment strategy and are now intensifying their sustainability efforts. GRESB, a sustainability certification scheme that has pushed the sector to go further every day, keeps seeing participation grow, whilst both governments and pension funds continue to push the cause. We are not stopping now.

Equally, looking at the proptech startup scene, the impact ventures in particular, are showing positive signs of connectedness, and immense growth in data sharing and joint propositions.

In the next few months, I’ll be discussing the challenges ahead with top real estate firms and other prospective clients. Please reach out if you are keen to participate. Together we can make a positive contribution to the ‘new normal’!

Let’s create energy-positive buildings!

Share this article

Sign up for updates

You may also like...

Blog

September 28, 2022

The time is now!

If there ever was ‘the right time’ to start rethinking our energy consumption, it’s today. The monetary costs of energy are going through the roof, but the real costs of (especially fossil) energy for our society and planet are even many times higher. So what’s the connection with hello energy and this momentum? 3 things
Blog

September 28, 2022

10 tips to save energy in the office

In the distribution and logistics sector, energy is probably the single most critical ingredient. That also means energy makes up a huge part of the yearly bill. And therefore, energy savings provide a good return on investment. We’ll tell you how to do this. And how to cooperate on this as a tenant, building user, landlord and/or asset manager.
Blog
Building heroes

September 27, 2022

Centennial Place | Calgary, Canada

With stunning views of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, this office building is a mountainous achievement of sustainability itself! ⛰️

You may also like...