Since 1970, we have consumed more resources than the Earth is capable of producing. There are, therefore, a series of behaviors that, obligatorily, all of us have to change. Namely, halving CO2 emissions by 2030, achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and electricity consumption through 70 to 85% renewable energies by 2050, so that, in this way, the Paris agreement that appears to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
Paying attention to the role of the real estate sector in the energy transition, Maria Empis, responsible for the work dynamics area at JLL Portugal, at a conference that marked the 25 years of this company in Portugal, admits that real estate is responsible for issuing almost 40% of emissions global carbon footprints, and the path to decarbonization "has two steps": reducing embodied carbon and increasing energy efficiency.
Construction in a "cleaner, lighter way, with less labor, less resources", is the way forward, according to Maria Empis. "We have to innovate in the way we recycle building materials, in improving energy efficiency, making buildings smarter, using more renewable energy."
BIM modeling can be a solution, as "it makes all project specialties compatible, allows minimizing changes and errors on site, saves information for more efficient maintenance of buildings".
Real estate as a service
Due to the fact that the pandemic has accelerated certain trends in buildings and offices, Guzman Blanche, head of workplace strategy in the EMEA region, underlines at the same conference that "buildings are more horizontal, with a greater sense of hospitality, with all the necessary services and facilities, food strategy (...) in sustainability, they have to be next level. Rooftop has to be more welcoming, try NZEB, more wood, more terraces, biophilia, etc.". Guzman Blanche also highlights the fact that we are "selling real estate as a service" and also that "community building" is increasingly sophisticated, our customers are the end user, more and more".
"We are still in the beginning, and the implementation of new technologies takes time. And real estate is even slower". This is the opinion of Andy Poppink, CEO of the markets area in the EMEA region, who says that investors are betting on proptech, and JLL "has already invested more than 350 million dollars in these technologies". He also mentions that investments can be made in the areas of "sustainability and well-being, future of work, smart buildings, construction, finance, portfolio management, digital marketing, metaverse".
The event also featured a debate moderated by Marta Lourenço, which was attended by Claude Kandiyoti, CEO of Krest Real Estate; Nuno Silva, founder of Finsolutia and Vera Pinto Pereira, CEO of EDP Comercial.
Emphasizing that the "energy transition is our core business", Vera Pinto Pereira, CEO of EDP Comercial, says that "we will be free of coal in 2025, and we want to be completely green in 2030. It is something that the world will have to embrace. Companies are starting to put more focus on ESG criteria". She also revealed that one of the biggest challenges is loading and that "a large part of the transport emissions that we have to reduce are from the commercial / corporate fleet".
"There is a lack of recovery in the Portuguese market. Green energy and chargers yes, but will they be truly sustainable?", according to Claude Kandiyoti, CEO of Krest Real Estate, ESG is a civil liability, "we work to understand the best way and the best solution, we have to respond to our needs, without jeopardizing the ability of the next generation to respond to theirs". To meet these needs, "construction has to be cheaper, faster, easier. In this way, we will be able to create a better service, a better product. At the end of the day, we have to add value. And sustainability is also having long-term projects We have to have stability and vision, work together to achieve these goals", according to Nuno Silva, founder of Finsolutia.
Attracting employees is the new challenge for offices
Claude Kandiyoti, referring to the new reality of offices, emphasizes that "we have to attract people, create a concept in which going to the office is effectively different from being at home. Companies are starting to set a new benchmark, like 50%-50 %, the idea is to share the space, not the desk. The idea is to create almost a neighborhood, like a floor".
Vera Pinto Pereira, believes that in addition to consistency in the company, "we need WOW experiences to bring people back to the office". Nuno Silva also paid attention to the fact that there is "a lot of opportunity in technology. Real estate needs to be "shaken". We can do a lot of quantitative analysis, yes, but the qualitative ones (people) are difficult to replace".