Real estate is one of the most energy-intensive sectors. CO2 emitted from construction and building accounts for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, 40% of the world’s energy is used to build and maintain buildings. Huge numbers! It is the utmost moment to take responsibility and take concrete steps towards a cleaner environment.
Fortunately, today the environment is favorable for green steps. Watching the news, you can see that the positive “green click” has taken place in many of our ways of thinking, and more and more companies understand the need for a green transition. It is important to turn green enthusiasm into concrete steps and a pervasive attitude.
Work on-site and at the designer level
When designing buildings today, all developers must take into account the requirement of energy class A. This is an important change that has reached us through legislation. At the same time, Class A, or the so-called near-zero energy building, means that the building can consume 100 kW of electricity per m2 per year. It is still a large amount of energy. As developers, we can go a step further and treat the rule as a minimum requirement. Let us strive for zero energy, even better – positive energy for the building. The latter means that the building has enough integrated renewable energy production capacity that, on average, more energy is sold to the grid than purchased from the grid on an annual average. We need to get over the paradigm that the will to invest ends where Class A is achieved. Just as we do not choose a car seat for our children at the lowest price, we should not create 50 years’ lasting buildings on the basis of the bottom line of Excel.
In addition, we must also contribute to a greener way of thinking during the construction phase. Do construction debris and waste be sorted and stored correctly? Are the materials used respectful of the environment – both in terms of production methods and long-term use? If not yet, this could be the case for the next building!
We educate house users
As developers, we can do everything we can to make buildings energy efficient. However, if the later users of the building do not come along with the green transition, we are halfway through the equation. The solution? We help to understand and motivate!
We have personally experienced that fixed utility costs in rental houses lead to up to 43% higher water consumption and even 99% higher electricity consumption. From a nature point of view, this is a terrible choice. In addition to activating the cause-and-effect relationship, there are benefits to sharing information. For example, a simple schedule in a garbage bin shelter reminds the user on a weekly basis how correct waste sorting sends much of the waste for recycling again. For houses that use solar panels, a guide that the best time to do laundry is at these times.
Let’s make the green tiger jump
In order for the crowd in the form of individuals and companies to not be too small, success stories and best environmental practices need to reach the masses. That is why we are one of the founding members of the Green Tiger representative organization together with Scandium. The Green Tiger is a cooperation platform for companies, the aim of which is to raise environmental awareness and achieve a balanced economic model in Estonia. This is a huge opportunity to create synergies in very different sectors of the economy and to make a literal leap of the Green Tiger towards a new, more carbon-neutral economy! So we challenge you, the Company Manager, to take part in the powerful Green Tiger leap, and together we will ensure that our children have at least as green Estonia as we have today.
Kalle Aron, Scandium Kinnisvara partner
The article was published in Äripäev on May 5, 2021.