The RICS Sustainability Report 2022 of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors gathers the sentiments of nearly 4,000 surveyors, of which about 1200 come from the United Kingdom.
While in commercial real estate the market is driving sustainability improvements – tenants and buyers will pay more for a building with lower energy bills – in construction the momentum of the market is not as evident.
Respondents reported that construction professionals in the UK are starting to adopt digital tools and technologies to complete the sustainability analysis of construction projects, mainly to assess energy needs and costs, but are less likely to use these. tools to reduce embedded carbon or to measure the impact on biodiversity. 47% of UK respondents reported that digital tools and processes were used to complete sustainability assessments on less than half or none of their projects. Across continental Europe, 40% of respondents said digital tools and processes have been used to complete sustainability assessments on less than half or none of their projects, suggesting the UK is lagging behind its neighbors.
This year RICS Sustainability ReportIt also indicates that there is not much carbon measurement going on – 76% of building surveyors in the UK said they do not carry out any operational carbon measurement on projects. (The answer was roughly the same for continental Europe.) With over half of UK respondents also saying they don’t measure embedded carbon, even for those who do, less than 14% use it for select the materials they use in their project.
When examining barriers to reducing carbon emissions, 38% identified both the lack of established / adopted standards, guidelines and tools, and high cost / low availability of low carbon products as key issues. Beyond that, contributors also mentioned cultural issues and established practices as a challenge.
RICS sustainability analyst Kisa Zehra commented: “It is beneficial for everyone to embrace the climate strategy and we need to reduce our impact on the built environment. Behavior change is occurring, with higher rents and prices for the most desirable sustainable properties and investors’ climate risk assessments on their built assets increasing around the world. But measuring all forms of carbon is also critical to the changes we need to see from the built environment. “