There isn’t a sector in the UK that isn’t focused on reducing its carbon footprint and sustainability. This is something that is especially prominent within the commercial development industry. Have you ever wondered why sustainability is so important to property developers aside from the relatively new regulations in the Environment Act of 2021? There are several reasons why property developers are paying even greater attention to the environment and sustainability, often beyond these new laws that provide the guidelines for commercial construction going forward.
If you have been paying attention to marketing trends in recent years, you would have noticed that today’s consumers seek to do business with companies that are centred on sustainability. Businesses as well as private consumers prefer to align themselves with companies that are part of the green initiative. It is a new generation of consumers that want to build relationships with the brands they deal with, and a huge part of that relationship is a common interest in doing everything possible to reverse global warming and climate change.
The general public wants to see commercial properties that actually add something to the environment rather than the destruction that has been prevalent for far too long. While the government has established very specific guidelines in property development to be followed, today’s consumers look beyond those mandates. In other words, the government sets the wheels in motion as to why sustainability is necessary, but consumers want more.
Biodiversity Net Gain
One of the most important reasons why today’s property developers are working closely with ecological consultants such as those at Ecology Surveys is due to what the government has labelled as Biodiversity Net Gain, BNG. Property developers are required to do more than simply leave the land in an equal state as when they began developing it. It is required that there should be at least a 10% improvement on the land in terms of animal habitats and vegetation.
Sometimes this entails the proper relocation of animals who have built their habitat on the land to be developed. Property developers are tasked with finding new ‘homes’ for these creatures and relocating them safely to an equally suitable site. However, this also includes structures that need to be demolished so that new buildings can be erected. What if an endangered species of bat has made their roost there? So, as you can see, environmental issues go beyond the land itself.
A Reduction in Waste
Another way in which commercial property developers are benefiting the environment is to do something about the huge amount of waste produced in construction. Sadly, there is no way to totally eliminate waste in construction but there is much property developers can do to reduce the amount of waste on their construction sites.
Many have begun seeking ways to recycle some of those materials that were previously considered waste. How does this benefit the environment? Primarily, recycling helps to reduce the number of natural resources being pillaged. Trees are a good example. Timber can be sent for recycling so that fewer trees are cut. With landfills being at, or beyond, capacity, this is an important step in the right direction. Not only are they mitigating the need for finding new landfills, but they are saving natural resources at the very same time.
Sustainable Building Materials
Two of the most important aspects of using sustainable building materials include products that are not dangerous to the ecology as well as materials with a longer lifespan. Bear in mind that materials that need to be replaced at shorter intervals also leads to a greater amount of waste. Today’s property developers are seeking materials that are safe for the environment and will perhaps even outlive the lifespan of the structures being built. Roofing tiles are an example of building materials that should be sustainable.
Designing Green Spaces
Many of today’s commercial buildings have been planned with green spaces. Not only are they lovely to look at but are also great for the environment. With so many carbon emissions literally rendering the air we breathe unhealthy, green spaces can help to mitigate those dangers. Through the process of photosynthesis, the leaves on trees pull in carbon in the air while releasing life-giving oxygen so necessary to support all kinds of life.
Features That Promote Alternative Modes of Transport
Many of the newer commercial buildings have been designed so that parking areas also include charge ports for hybrid or electric vehicles. These are operated in the same way as those found in the parking lots of major retail outlets. Instead of filling their vehicles with petrol, customers and employees can charge their vehicles while in the building.
Bike racks are becoming more and more common as well. These are often constructed under an overhang so that bikes aren’t subject to a sudden rainstorm. Also, the way in which these bike racks are designed allows for bicycles to be securely chained and locked to the rack so there is little opportunity for thieves to steal them.
The Beginning of a New Day
When all is said and done, great strides have been made but there is still much to do. This is just the beginning of a new day in sustainability and as time goes on, new advances will enable property developers to plan and build amazingly advanced environmentally safe structures. From the use of solar power to reducing waste in construction, there are always ways to address environmental issues that seek to make this a better world in which to live, work, and play.
The Environment Act is just the beginning but today’s property developers are finding ways to go beyond government mandates. With so much emphasis on sustainability, perhaps the next generation will inherit a world in which there are few environmental concerns. So then, why are property developers focused on sustainability? Quite simply, it’s a combination of government mandates and consumer demand.
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