September 9, 2016
The global real estate market is showing signs of improvement across all areas of environmental, social and governance performance (ESG) including a 1.2 percent reduction in energy consumption, 2 percent reduction in GHG emissions and close to 1 percent reduction in water use. It is also placing greater focus on occupant health and well-being. This is according to the latest data compiled by GRESB, a benchmarking organisation for real estate companies and funds which evaluates sustainability practices in the global real estate sector. In the results for the 2016 GRESB Real Estate, Developer and Debt assessments, which analyses the sustainability performance of more than 1,100 real estate portfolios of both private equity and listed companies, Australian entities outperformed all other regions with an average score of 74, which is 14 points above the global average; and office companies and funds outperformed other property types with an average score of 66.
September 2, 2016
The younger generation have a reputation for being pretty keen on addressing environmental issues, but new data alleges they’re not as open to changing their behaviours. There’s actually a clear generational gap when it comes to attitudes towards recycling at work and it’s the older generation who make more effort, a new survey suggests. It claims that younger people are around 16 percent less likely to recycle at work with just 64 percent of people aged 18-24 prepared to adhere to their employers’ recycling policies. One particular cause of concern is the fact that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year, leading the Liberal Democrats to recently call for action to be taken to address the fact that only one in 400 cups are recycled. The survey, which was carried out by commercial waste recycling services provider Direct365, claims that 72 percent of people do actually recycle items at work overall.
August 17, 2016
The main driver of the growing interest in wellbeing in recent years has undoubtedly been absenteeism. But workers don’t have to be ‘absent’ from the workplace to hamper productivity. Presenteeism, where employees are present but not productive can also influence the long-term success of an organisation. The interaction between the worker and their work environment has a huge influence on an individual’s wellbeing and overall productivity, with employees’ performance more likely to be enhanced when they are immersed in a comfortable and stimulating environment. This can include all the usual stipulations, such as a well-designed workstation, a comfortable office temperature and carefully considered and appropriate lighting. In fact, improved lighting is an essential element in the overall mix, not only because of the cost savings that their energy efficiency brings but also in the way lighting contributes to workplace wellbeing and people’s performance.
August 17, 2016
The Spanish Plume may have been blown off course – but given the fact that any British office becomes uncomfortable when we reach the heady heights of 20 degrees and over, it’s worth taking a look at new guidance on ways of keeping workplaces cool for employees during hot weather. The UK has no legal maximum workplace temperature but the Health and Safety Executive states that temperatures must be at a “reasonable” level, depending on the place of work and type of activity. Workplace experts Acas have launched their latest hot weather guidelines to help employers keep workplace temperatures down so staff can continue to work safely and productively. Its guidance also covers thorny areas such as suitable dress codes during warm weather – as the guide says; ’employers may choose to adopt a more casual or flexible approach to dress during hot weather days but this may depend on the type of the business’. There are three top tips from Acas.
August 9, 2016
A new report from the United Nations claims to identify the world’s leading nations in the use of the Internet to support sustainable development. The E-Government Survey 2016, assesses how e-government principles are applied to support the UN’s 15 year plan to use sustainable development to end poverty, boost growth and tackle climate change. The report highlights how the application of new technology can make government institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, encourage democratic participation, improve the delivery of services and allow policy makers to take account of the big picture when coming to decisions. The report claims that the UK government is setting worldwide standards for other countries to emulate. The model is replicated in Australia, Europe and New Zealand. South Korea was placed third and the report highlights successes in countries like Turkey and China, but states that many regions are not taking advantage of the opportunities offered them by the Internet.
August 1, 2016
The changing energy demands of British cities are revealed in a new report published by Smart Energy GB and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The report’s central claim is that urbanisation, economic growth and new technology will drive cities to meet their energy demands with the greater use of sustainable and renewable sources. The authors claim that this is the first time that predictions about increases in energy demand in the UK have been analysed and published on a city level. The Powering Future Cities report suggests that this growing demand will primarily be driven by urban population growth, economic growth and a predicted surge in use of new technology, including electric vehicles. The report coincides with an announcement that the World Green Building Council has created a new partnership with the World Resources Institute-led Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) to fast-track improvements to energy efficiency within buildings.
June 27, 2016
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the winners of its annual Tall Building Awards for 2016. The Awards are, judged by a panel of experts, primarily drawn from the property and architecture sectors. The CTBUH claims its awards provide ‘a more comprehensive and sophisticated view of these important structures, while advocating for improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive impact on the individuals who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit.’ The best tall buildings have been announced for each of four regions: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe and Middle East & Africa. While the winners in the Middle East and US were both residential projects, the winners in Asia and Europe were both primarily office based or mixed use projects; the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai and The White Walls mixed-use building in Nicosia, Cyprus.
June 18, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham says we must question the idea that there is one ideal form of office; and argues events such as Clerkenwell Design Week wouldn’t function unless there was some consensus on what constitutes good and bad design. The supply of flexible workspace in London outstrips conventional office space; emerging technologies will create more organic workspace; and employees thrive in a workplace that is sensitive to their needs and well-being. Women who work long hours could be damaging their health; the UK remains in the grip of a digital skills crisis; people welcome the idea of robot help and the IEA says cities can contribute to a cut in carbon emissions. You can download our Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, on the boundless office; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
June 8, 2016
With urban areas accounting for up to two-thirds of the potential to reduce global carbon emissions, cities must take the lead in the transition to low-carbon energy, says the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its annual report. Offering long-term pathways that could limit the global temperature increase to no more than 2°C, in line with the goals set at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, the report suggests that the most cost-effective approach involves deploying low-carbon options in cities, especially in emerging and developing economies. Because buildings provide useful space to self-generate the electricity they consume: by 2050, rooftop solar could technically meet one-third of electricity demand. Such buildings offer significant demand potential for the roll-out of the most efficient technologies, like energy-efficient windows and appliances. However, international collaboration is essential, claims the report.
June 3, 2016
Uncertainty about the consequences of a possible UK vote to leave the EU is having an adverse effect on the country’s construction pipeline, according to the Markit/CPS survey of activity in the market. According to the study, new building orders declined during May for the first time in three years although at 51.2, the index remains above the neutral 50 threshold which indicates that the trend remains positive. The May study specifically asked respondents how their work had been affected by the Brexit vote with one third saying it had had a negative effect. Meanwhile, an April study from CBRE found that demand for office space in London had remained robust through the first quarter despite fears that uncertainty about the market and the wider economy related to the referendum would dampen demand. Meanwhile, a new survey from the IEMA claims that two-thirds of members believe environmental issues will be given lower priority if the UK leaves the EU.
June 3, 2016
There is an urgent need for more action and greater leadership in tackling sustainability requirements in commercial real estate. Just a handful of large companies are meeting sustainability challenges, according to Bilfinger GVA’s sixth Green to Gold survey on the risks of rising sustainability pressures and market demands, with the progress being made not as strong as expected. Although 84 percent of respondents acknowledged that they have a sustainability strategy in place, there are still huge gaps that need to be filled in order to meet appropriate standards. Only 50 percent admitted to assessing operational energy efficiency, whilst 63 percent are not assigning specific figures for the costs or benefits of sustainability issues in investment appraisal calculations. Added to this, 43 percent are yet to assess their portfolio’s risk profile with regards to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. This means the industry now finds itself with more to achieve in significantly less time.
May 27, 2016
The Government of Dubai has announced the opening of what it claims is the world’s first 3D printed office building, a project it first unveiled last Summer. China may take issue with them on that claim but the announcement marks yet another step in the development of the construction process towards mainstream use. The Emirate is using the 250 sq. m. Museum of the Future building as an example of how the UAE can lead the world in 3D building technology. A 3D printer took 17 days to print the building using a modified cement material in layers. The total cost of the print was US$140,000 excluding interior fit-out and furnishing. The developers also claim that there was a 50 percent saving on labour costs as the project only involved 18 people on site, mostly electricians and engineers. The design claims to achieve ‘a shift from the traditional form of work environments and provide greater opportunities to stimulate innovation and communication between workplace teams.’