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The Future of Real Estate Must Be Liveable, Sustainable and Resilient

The Future of Real Estate Must Be Liveable, Sustainable and Resilient

Learn about the significant responsibility that comes amid rapid urbanisation and growth in construction to be more sustainable.

When we talk about embedding sustainable practices into our businesses, a lot of focus goes into the energy and transportation sectors, but it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop there.

The built environment sector currently contributes around 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

More than half of the global population is now concentrated in urban areas, and by 2060 two thirds of the expected global population of 10 billion people will live in cities.

As we plan for a rapidly urbanising world and the tremendous growth in construction that will come with it, there’s significant responsibility on those in the built environment sector to be more sustainable for the people who inhabit it.

But what exactly do we mean by sustainability?

In a recent episode of our Blazing Business Trails podcast, I spoke with James Addison, UK Head of Operations at JLL who said:

“Sustainability in a broader sense is going to dominate the real estate market going forward.”

He added: “That’s broader than the environmental aspect, although that is critically important… it’s around the fair and just society, around improving the health and wellbeing of our communities, and it’s about how the office, workspace and employee experience is shaped around that.”

As we move into the post-pandemic era, with people continually adapting to new ways of working, we face a huge opportunity to rethink the spaces we work in from both an environmental and community-focused perspective.

Time for change

The challenge of understanding the impact of sustainability falls to everyone in the real estate value chain – from the land owner and the buyer to the builder and the end user.

Not only that, they need to play an active role in ensuring the real estate landscape is sustainable in the long term.

From the brutalist housing projects of the ’60s and ’70s to London’s forgotten pedway system, there have been many examples of Utopian construction projects that are now abandoned because they failed to match the ways that people actually used them.

How did they get it so wrong? Often by not listening to the changing needs of people – by making assumptions based on guesswork.

But in 2021, we have access to technology, data and insights that these designers could not have dreamed of.

By designing and managing buildings around data-rich technologies, it’s possible to create autonomous buildings that can learn, adapt, and respond to the needs of people and the environment in a sustainable way.

For example, could building developers use technology to keep better track of what’s ahead in government regulation? Could they gain better insight into supply chains in order to source sustainable materials cost-effectively? And plug-in smart home data as part of the evolving ‘internet of things’ to learn the needs of building users in real-time?

Salesforce can help the real estate sector evolve into a more sustainable future

If we want to create a built environment that continues to have a positive impact on future generations, we’ll have to listen to the individuals who use it.

Property technology can provide a more customised experience for occupants and improve everything from air quality to booking space for meetings.

Salesforce has been helping businesses transform around their customers for over 20 years, – because that’s exactly what we do within our own business.

With a global reputation for equipping real estate organisations with actionable insights, we can deliver the learning that drives successful digital transformation, and help them strike the crucial balance between sustainability, profit and creativity.

As real estate organisations make their buildings smarter and more digitally enabled, they will transform their business to position for long-term success – able to adapt to what’s ahead.

And we believe that this will have a knock-on effect, not only with the buildings themselves but with their wider communities – by opening the door to smart neighbourhoods and cities that operate efficiently and sustainably.

In a game-changing move for sustainability and the environment and a great example of forward-thinking, the UK government just announced that all new homes would be required by law to include electric vehicle charging points.

Using data, they’ve been able to identify when the electricity system’s peak demand times occur. As the need for electric vehicle charging grows, people will be able to charge their vehicles overnight, saving consumers on their electricity bills, creating more sustainable electricity generation and avoiding costly upgrades to the network to meet new capacity requirements.

We can use thinking like this to plan and manage buildings not in a vacuum but with a holistic understanding of them as living, breathing parts of a whole system, in ways that benefit everyone in the long run.

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