“If we want to honestly repair the climate crisis, we can’t just repair a broken system, we must reimagine it.“ Noura Berroub, World Economic Forum, Davos 2019
Given that the real estate sector accounts for half of global wealth, the building industry should be playing a key role towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to a joint report published by the UN and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), ‘Advancing Responsible Business Practices in Land, Construction, and Real Estate Use & Investment – Making the Sustainable Development Goals a Reality’, real estate is an often overlooked element of a company’s responsible business agenda. But the industry’s cross-sectoral reach can make the SDGs a reality. The report urges the real estate sector to fulfill this potential, saying:
“… real estate investment and development, its use, management and operation, as well as associated business activities, must accelerate efforts to be more responsible and sustainable. For companies in the sector, successful implementation of the SDGs will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world.”
The 17 SDGs cover many different aspects of sustainability including no poverty, ending hunger and gender equality. The chart below highlights the sustainability impact of the real estate sector and its relevance for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
There are a number of SDGs specifically relevant to the real estate industry, of which some of the most relevant are listed below:
- Goal 3: GOOD HEALTH & WELLBEING – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages: A reduction of building emissions can reduce pollution and improve air quality. In addition, building design that focuses on indoor environment quality, such as lighting, air quality and greenery, have proven positive impact on health and wellbeing.
- Goal 7: AFFORDABLE & CLEAN ENERGY – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all: Energy savings from efficient buildings and the usage of energy from local renewable sources are usually cheaper, produce no carbon emissions and improve energy security.
- Goal 8: DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH – Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all: Sustainable building, from conception to construction, impacts a large number of people and can provide opportunity for employment.
- Goal 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION & INFRASTRUCTURE – Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation: In the face of global climate change, a sustainable environment, including buildings and infrastructure, must be designed to be resilient and adaptable. A New Climate Economy report found that pushing for buildings which are net zero emissions buildings is a major driver for innovation and technology.
- Goal 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES & COMMUNITIES – Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable: Almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Sustainability of our cities is key to ensure a high quality of life for everyone.
- Goal 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns: The building industry has a major role to play in preventing waste through reduction, recycling and reuse, also known as ‘circular economy’ principles.
- Goal 13: CLIMATE ACTION – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts: Buildings are a major contributor to climate change, responsible for over 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By building sustainably, energy efficiency measures can help combat against this.
- Goal 15: LIFE ON LAND – Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss: The building industry and supply chains have a major role to play in using responsibly sourced materials, as well as reduced water use, and minimising damage on local biodiversity.
Balance and harmony
At MIRIS, we believe that a sustainable planet and sustainable lifestyles are completely codependent, which is why we wholeheartedly embrace the efforts behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Much effort is needed, to be sure, to help us achieve these goals. That is why MIRIS has set itself the monumental goal for attaining self-sustainable living through sustainable building design. Through innovation and creative solutions, we combine technology in new ways which enable us to meet the goals we set.
The most recent example of our commitment is the creation of SVART – the first energy positive hotel. Situated in Norway, the hotel will reduce its yearly energy consumption by 85% compared to other modern hotels, and will harvest enough solar energy to cover both hotel operations and the energy needed to construct the building. A closed loop infrastructure will be built encompassing sustainable energy production, complete recycling of heat, waste and water. Through smart architectural design, technology and sustainable energy production and distribution, we aim to be self-sufficient within 5 years of operation.
Positive Energy Balance
Our lifestyles need to change in balance and harmony with our environment to ensure our current and future human needs and aspirations are not only enhanced, but exceeded, and accessible to the masses. The case is clear for the real estate industry to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals applicable to the sector. According to the UN/RICS report, “responsible action needs to become ‘business as usual’ within global real estate markets. It will drive prosperity, innovation and investment, and helps secure our desired future: vibrant and transparent markets, thriving economies, inclusive communities and a greener, healthier planet.”
To help play its part towards achieving the SDGs, MIRIS utilises the best in emerging technology to create a sustainable built environment, which in turn enables people to take responsibility.
MIRIS. Building Better.
To find out more about the MIRIS approach to Sustainable Living, click here