energy transition

How property developers can contribute to make cities more sustainable

published 01-08-2019 / share  

The development of new transportation and energy solutions, in combination with changes in customer behaviour and increasing environmental concerns, is laying out a new way of looking at real estate and property development.

In the years to come, new public policies will make sure that buildings are built and adjusted to meet certain standards in order to be more sustainable. The obligations derived from these policies, and with customers less and less interested in just buying and owning assets, property developers are forced to review their position as service providers. By including smart mobility and renewable energy sources in their plans, property developers can avoid the costs of physical adaptation in the future and differentiate themselves from other developers

The forces driving the change 

There are different market forces which make this transition possible. On the one hand, more and more homeowners are interested in more sustainable housing and more efficient solutions with regard to mobility. On the other hand, municipalities and public policies stimulate and encourage more sustainable housing solutions, promoting especially those projects which include integrated models. And image-wise, it has become an added value for property developers too. As they use sustainability to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to attract talent and build more brand awareness 

Integrated models  

In the current energy transition, new construction projects have to offer integrated solutionsIn the Netherlands great examples can be seen in a variety of projects. One of the projects that fits this movement is Rhapsody, which can be found in Amsterdam West. This project integrated a variety of solutions; offering the tenants not only a comfortable and sustainable living, but also great mobility options (including shared cars, Biro’s and e-bikes). In addition, the entire roof is covered with solar panels generating energy instead of tapping into grey energy sources.  

In general, we observe that a new ecosystem of homes and vehicles is created which enables a more balanced use of energy with clear advantages: 

  • Flexibility in the grid 
  • Cheaper energy 
  • Environmentally more sustainable use of resources, having a positive impact on society.  

Property developers are aware of the opportunities that these integrated propositions can bring. Therefore, they are setting up pilots in which different solutions are tested.  

Learning by doing 

No one dares to declare which solution is the best one. Property developers have to learn from the pilots quickly and acquire new knowledge. They need to understand the potential opportunities of renewable energy systems integrated in real estate projects. And doing this requires establishing new partnerships with energy and mobility providers in a systematic way. 

This means they have the chance to redefine their position in the market by becoming a one-stop-shop, which does not provide you only with a house, but with an attractive and more sustainable way of living in the city. By doing this, property providers establish a new long-term relationship with their clients. 



Author: Oscar Westerhof, Managing Partner at Faraday Keys


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