RICS Global Sustainability Report: UK demand for sustainable buildings rises – but, cost is an issue

Occupier demand for sustainable buildings in the UK has risen, but legislative uncertainty and lack of measurement is holding industry back

Occupier demand for sustainable buildings in the UK has risen, and global appetite for green buildings is on the rise, but legislative uncertainty and lack of measurement is holding industry back from making a real impact on net zero targets. This is the main thrust of new data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) global sustainability report for 2023.

Now in its third year, the RICS analysis outlines the state of the world’s green and sustainable real estate and investor interest in acquiring and developing it. This year’s edition represents the sentiment of around 4,600 real estate and construction professionals from across more than 30 countries.

Positive news

RICS says there is much to be positive about. Nearly half of respondents globally report a rise in occupier and investor demand for climate-adapted real estate. Predominantly the rise is described as modest, but it builds on rising interest also noted in our previous three annual reports.

Turning to the UK figures specifically, a third of professionals believe a lack of common standards and definition of green buildings is a key barrier to investor interest. Meanwhile. 63% reported established use of on-site waste minimisation and reuse of materials after demolition, the highest global rate.

Lack of embodied carbon measurement

However, even though both occupier and investor demand is rising, there is still a notable lack of measurement. Construction sector professionals were asked to give insights around embodied carbon assessment across projects. The 2023 results show that around 43% of respondents globally report they make no measurement of embodied carbon on projects. Even if carbon is being assessed, there is little evidence to suggest that it is having an impact on the choice of materials and components. To achieve targets, measurement must become common practice, concludes RICS.

Furthermore, clarifying new UK energy performance certificates (EPC) standards for commercial real estate is essential to boost investment into energy efficiency measures and create greener buildings.

RICS President-Elect, Tina Paillet,- summarises the urgency of the RICS findings: “This year’s sustainability report is a wake-up call to our industry. We are making progress but not enough to reach net zero by 2050.”

You can view and access the RICS Report from their website.

Priva is a leading manufacturer of building energy management systems and digital cloud-based building automation technologies. Each month, we publish blogs and content – here on Priva Inside – to keep our customers and Partners up to speed on the topics and themes that are shaping the built environment in the UK. To find out more about the role Priva’s smart technologies play in delivering more sustainable building operation – and delivering on Net Zero goals and ambitions, please head over to our blog archive, or drop us a line – or visit our main corporate site www.priva.com

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