RICS publishes annual Sustainability Report

The built environment must progress on decarbonisation, a recent survey of 4,000 chartered surveyors has concluded.

Progress is being seen in some aspects of the built environment on the drive to be more sustainable, according to the 2022 RICS Sustainability Report, however the rate of advancement needs to accelerate significantly and become more widespread.

The report shows that some improvement in the push for sustainability has been made in the past year, notably in the commercial real estate sector as demand for green buildings continues to rise.

The data also shows there has been little or no change in some important areas in the past 12 months. In construction, a significant share of professionals say they do not measure carbon emissions on projects.

The report also revealed:

  • Occupier and investor demand for green buildings continues to rise in the UK as nearly half of respondents report lower rents and sale prices for non-sustainable buildings.
  • 55% of respondents note a rise in climate risk assessments by investors on their built assets, suggesting that climate issues could be influencing the behaviour of key market players.
  • Lack of tools, databases, established standards and benchmarks were identified as key obstacles.
  • Contributors also highlighted challenges including high costs or low availability of low carbon materials and skill shortages.

In another signal that people in the UK are placing more focus on sustainable property, more than half of respondents (55%) noted a rise in climate risk assessments by investors on their built assets, suggesting that climate issues are now rising up the agenda and could be influencing the behaviour of key market players.

The figures suggest Europe is seeing stronger progress on sustainability in the built environment due to the spotlight being turned on green buildings by the European Commission’s Green Deal. Policymakers in other regions turning their attention towards sustainable real estate will lead to market shifts elsewhere, the report notes.

Image credit: iStock

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