Sustainability lies at the helm of modern-day development, emerging as a crucial undertaking to support the fight against climate change. World leaders and global investors have pledged to uphold the commitments and goals undertaken at the COP26 summit. These goals revolve around securing global net zero and protecting natural habitats and vulnerable communities with extensive collaboration.
Stakeholders have pledged to mobilize finances and work together to deliver targets. The real estate sector is at the forefront of these goals, and investors worldwide are taking meaningful strides toward upholding net zero commitments. Sustainability is a crucial element in real estate development, but effective implementation demands a multifaceted approach to prevent greenwashing.
How can industry leaders and developers collaborate to navigate the politics of sustainability and propose actionable and realistic solutions? How can the industry collaborate to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from high-rise buildings and urban development projects? Do the stakeholders accurately understand the measurements, returns, and risks associated with the sustainable development model?
Read on to explore the key sustainability challenges engulfing the real estate sector in the face of alarming climate change calamities.
- The Ravages of Climate Change
Climate change is a global catastrophe carrying detrimental implications for every industry and sector. Therefore, it demands a multisectoral and collaborative response to preserve the planet and safeguard vulnerable communities. Aggressive weather changes, heightened rainfall, alarming snow storms, and dramatically rising and lowering temperatures adversely impact the natural and artificial environment.
Real estate developers must safeguard buildings and infrastructure against damage and equip development models with sustainable architectural models. Finding holistic and sustainable development approaches is instrumental to preserving the environment and human communities.
Developers, investors, and realtors must educate themselves to acquire the necessary skills for introducing sustainable and climate-friendly construction processes. Undertaking a sustainable real estate online course is highly advisable to understand the gravity of the challenges and learn from research-backed sustainability discourses. Returning to the classroom will help stakeholders identify new climate requirements and develop pragmatic strategies to prevent infrastructural damage.
There’s a dire need for active collaboration between educators and real estate stakeholders, including corporations, developers, and high-profile investors. Acquiring actionable skills will equip real estate stakeholders with practical solutions to curb the ravages of climate change with sustainable developments.
- Rising Scarcity of Raw Materials
The ecological footprint and ravages of climate change combine to create an alarming reality of Earth’s rapid resource depletion. Have you ever considered how much water, minerals, fossil fuels, timber, and other natural resources have been consumed? Earth is rapidly running out of natural resources and raw materials – materials the real estate sector relies on to sustain its operations.
Resource scarcity is a colossal challenge, as resource depletion gives rise to construction delays, rising expenses, and derailed projects. Developers cannot manage operations and maintain assets when costs plummet sky-high without meeting project timelines. Managing construction processes with low-quality or inadequately extracted raw materials has far-leading implications. Corporations and developers risk their reputations by profiting off communities and families through living spaces constructed with substandard materials.
It is important to address resource scarcity to develop efficient and sustainable solutions.
- Burgeoning Pollution and Waste Accumulation
Real estate operations, primarily construction processes, exert a heavy burden on the environment and ecosystems by giving rise to pollution. Unsustainable and haphazard activities contribute to waste accumulation, resulting in massive air, land, and water pollution. Unsafe disposal of construction waste, including concrete, glass, wood, and plastic, leads to alarming land and water pollution.
Efficient waste management approaches have not garnered industry wide support as real estate developers are titled toward profit maximization. Waste accumulation and rising pollution give rise to negative environmental impacts, curbing sustainability where it is most needed. Governments must introduce penalties and deterring laws to prevent gross mishandling that leads to unprecedented environmental damage.
- Loss of Biodiversity and Damaged Natural Ecosystems
Communities worldwide are facing the consequences of rapidly reducing green spaces and deforestation in the form of smog and wildfires. People seek cleaner and fresher air as the oxygen supply continues to deplete with alarming air pollution levels. The exodus from urban to rural communities prompts corporations and developers to offer them affordable and modern living spaces.
It is pertinent to understand that land developer for profit maximization is the core goal of real estate stakeholders. Unless deterred, the real estate sector is blissfully unaware of the negative implications on biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Rural communities and natural ecosystems are being stripped of their resources, uprooting wildlife from their homes.
Disrupting the natural balance of Earth’s ecosystem is bound to have grave consequences, many of which are manifesting themselves alarmingly. Without a broad consensus on responsible and eco-friendly land development, embracing sustainability will remain challenging.
- Rising Pollution in Urban Settlements
Understanding and mitigating the hazardous environmental impact of urbanized settlements is crucial in fighting climate change and embracing sustainable development. Urban communities are epicenters of corporate and business activity, including manufacturing units, transit systems, and other pollution-creating elements. These communities generate mammoth amounts of water pollution, food waste, air pollution, noise hazards, and more.
The adverse impact of urban areas is increasing over time, with little or no planning to regulate urban pollution. For example, metropolitan cities need efficient and large-scale transportation systems to promote mobility and economic growth. These activities give rise to pollution with little awareness of the hazards of greenhouse emissions.
Cities and towns are planned without conscious attention to efficient waste management and reducing air pollution. It is important to promote awareness of the environmental impact of urban areas and alter the flow of materials and processes. Developers must tailor and improve urban settlements with efficient pollution and waste management solutions. Finding eco-friendly alternatives to pollution-causing urban elements is a dire need to curb climate change.
The urban real estate sector is focused on addressing the burgeoning housing crisis and providing more inventory to attract potential buyers. There’s a growing need to shift real estate priorities and develop a collective consciousness to mitigate these implications.
Real estate professionals and stakeholders must collaborate to set sustainable priorities to preserve biodiversity and natural ecosystems. There’s a dire need to curb urban pollution and introduce initiatives that allow communities to maximize life quality without polluting the planet. Prioritizing sustainable development is not an initiative that offers profitability; therefore, it does not garner industry wide attention.
Government and public stakeholders must join hands with the real estate sector to incentivize sustainable development. Adopting and harnessing disruptive technologies can help us fight against the environmental hazards of high-rise and urban developments. For instance, technology can assist with efficient waste management, sustainable construction, and water treatment.