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REIA’s plan to reduce the environmental impact of commercial property 

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has released a new report that outlines long-term measures commercial property owners, builders and developers can implement to make their properties more environmentally friendly and hit government targets.

The REIA Commercial Real Estate Sustainability Report 2023, suggests commercial property owners look at 12 different areas that can be improved and that will also make their buildings more appealing to tenants.

The improvements include making buildings more energy efficient by incorporating renewable energy, building automation and controls and having energy-efficient appliances.

The report also suggests adding water conservation measures, improved waste management and recycling, better indoor air quality, green roofs and landscaping as well as regular monitoring and reporting.

REIA President Hayden Groves said the proposed changes are a broader recognition of the industry’s impact on the environment, society and the economy. 

“Central to this, will be the adoption practice of owners in the mid to long term to adapting their spaces to consumer demand; but also, what Australia’s emissions targets will dictate,” Mr Groves said.

“Getting the right information and making sure there is the right expertise on hand for our industry will be absolutely critical to achieving success through this transition.” 

For new developments, several considerations can be made by the developers and builders that can reduce the embodied carbon of commercial properties according to the report.

These include better material selection, energy-efficient design, more efficient transport and prefabrication and modular construction will make new developments more environmentally friendly.

Mr Groves said an understanding of the Australian Government’s Scope 3 emissions targets and how this will change the operation of commercial properties is a good starting point for tenants.

He said because of the government’s focus on targets, commercial tenants have also been forced to make changes and that this will be a key driver for the selection of office space moving forward. 

“While there are a multitude of reasons that tenants prefer prime grade office space over secondary grades, one of the major drawcards of better-quality space is the ability of tenants to reduce their emissions through their office space occupancy,” he said.

“As environmental awareness, sustainability practices and the regulatory environment demands it, it is anticipated these considerations will continue to gain traction. 

“Addressing embodied carbon will likely become a more integral part of the real estate and construction industries.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.