In the news, on social media, and just about everywhere you turn, someone is talking about the significance of reducing our impact on the environment, particularly in the workplace. Companies are under pressure to reduce costs while still achieving sustainability targets. This is one of the most noteworthy conflicts within the sustainability phenomenon.
Or is it?
No matter how often it is thought that cost savings and sustainability don’t go hand-in-hand, practice has shown otherwise.
Research by the University of Toronto has shown that 27 cities are responsible for 9% of the world’s electricity consumption. And this while these cities “only” accommodate 6.7% of the world’s population. This study also shows that electricity consumption is linked strongly to the built floor surface area.
Making real estate sustainable is a smart and future-proof way to shrink electricity consumption. Sustainability often is connected with new buildings. After all, new buildings are compatible to the application of modern, energy-saving technologies. “The Edge,” Deloitte’s multi-tenant office building in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, is a wonderful example of this. But what happens with existing buildings? Making existing buildings sustainable is often not dealt with, because it is assumed it will be expensive, and the returns from this expenditure will only end up benefiting the tenant. And that’s a missed opportunity because 99% of buildings are in fact part of the existing building stock.
The study by the University of Toronto mentioned previously shows that extra taxes have succeeded in reducing electricity consumption in London, despite the economic growth. So, are enforced rules the answer? Or should it be practical tools that offer insight and provide methods with which to achieve energy savings?
Making existing buildings sustainable and reducing costs can coexist perfectly, as the example of Triodos Bank shows. “Forget reducing the negative impact; go for increasing the positive impact,” insisted Guus Berkhout, Fund Manager for Triodos Bank, during the Planon MasterClass. Presence detection, heat and cold storage, a heat exchanger wheel: their building—constructed in 1959—in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, is full of energy-saving tricks that are not visible to the naked eye. Despite its age, was, in fact, suitable for the latest “sustainability tricks.” Triodos Bank believes this will let it cut its annual energy costs by half. Did they need enforced rules for this? Or do they recognize the principle of “rethinking” the way we view and approach sustainability?
Written by Sanne Oostendorp
Originally posted on planonsoftware.com