What ESG Architects Should Know When Designing Properties

June 21, 2022

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are becoming important drivers of investment and operational decisions in both private and public spheres. The construction industry is no exception. Stakeholders, from investors to regulatory authorities, are all demanding sustainable properties, which can give them the satisfaction that they are helping to leave positive marks in the sustainability journey. This is why ESG architects should leave nothing to chance in ensuring they only design sustainable real estates. 

Keep reading as we dig deeper into the concept of ESG and the most important things that ESG architects should focus on. 

What is ESG?

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) are the three core factors used in measuring the sustainability, ethics, and social impacts of a company. Although it emerged not so long ago, its use has intensified so much in all sectors. The alertness about ESG matters among the people and appreciation that it is the responsibility of everyone to help make the planet a better place have made stakeholders take caution about what they buy or use. 

Unlike in the past, when matters of sustainability were considered voluntary, the legislative landscape is changing pretty fast. Now, real estate companies and other firms are required to prepare and publish reports about their sustainability. For example, the UK has already indicated it will require all companies to use the Task-force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) starting from 2025. 

In the Far East, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has already provided guidelines for ESG reporting for all listed companies. Therefore, ESG architects are becoming more crucial in ensuring that all premises or projects they work on factor in sustainability. Even the old buildings are being remodeled by architects to help minimize energy use, increase social interaction and enhance workers' health. 

Benefits of Green Building

For most people, the idea of ESG in building construction is to help cut down costs of their design or associated work. However, there are more benefits that you should anticipate from focus on ESG , including: 

  • Green buildings help to protect the natural environment. 
  • A sustainable building is healthier to live and work in. For workers in sustainable buildings, the productivity is usually higher compared to those working in “non-green” properties.
  • The cost of lighting and air conditioning is low in an ESG office or residential building because users can take advantage of natural lighting and alternative energy sources. 
  • Every ESG architect emphasizes on stronger communities to build cohesion and integration. 
  • From the architects or building designers to property users, sustainability helps to ensure that stakeholders can feel proud of their contribution in making the planet a better place for all. 

Important Things that ESG Architects Should Know

As an ESG architect in a company, whether in Minneapolis or Hong Kong, you are a pace setter because other stakeholders, from customers to house users, come after the project's completion. This gives you the opportunity to come up with more impressive designs that can help to advance the cause for sustainability. So, here are the six most important things that you need to know about: 

ESG Regulations will Only Increase

The field of ESG sustainability is pretty new, but it is developing at a rapid rate. Stakeholders, such as governments and industry standards, are busy looking for new ways to enhance sustainability via legislation, policies, and rules. At the moment, some of the certifications that you should know and apply in building design and construction include: 

  • ENERGY STAR: This is a common EPA tool that helps people to assess and track energy consumption at the building level. 
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): This is a rating system used to measure environmental performance. 
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP): This is an internationally respected organization that helps companies in real estate to disclose their GHG emissions and craft strategies for reduction. 
  • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB): ESG architects use GRESB as a sustainability benchmark so that investors can gauge their investments and compare them to industrial standards. 

Data gathering for any property during construction and occupation is critical in ensuring that stakeholders get the right information for comparison. Therefore, make sure to have the right ESG sustainability reporting apps for data gathering. 

Energy Conservation and Net-Zero Emissions will Become the Norm 

The biggest threat facing the planet today is global warming. Already, experts have given their warnings that we are quickly getting to the tipping point. As ESG architects, it is important to appreciate that the goal to help save the planet is only getting bolder. Therefore, you should anticipate the efforts to drive energy conservation and focus on net-zero emission will be emphasized more. 

In building design and construction, according to Aaron Roseth, an expert in ESG architecture in Minneapolis, net-zero emission is possible when a property emits only what the atmosphere can take. Remember that this has to be holistic, implying that the sources must be looked at comprehensively, including Scope 1-3 emissions, for a building to be considered to have reached net-zero emissions. You can facilitate this as an architect by assisting your clients in shifting to alternative energy sources. Good examples include solar and wind energy. 

ESG Reporting Must Be Data Driven 

As an architect working on multiple projects, what most investors are interested in is getting the answer to one major question, “are the properties sustainable?” To answer this question, ESG architects follow a clear plan, which includes defining clear objectives, strategy, and key performance indicators. Again, they are guided by the core principles of ESG reporting, such as accuracy, materiality and continuity. 

Because of the complex nature of the involved data, some of it from different departments and other offsite, you should go for the right sustainability management software. For example, diginexESG can help you to automate part of data gathering, track it over time, and create top-quality reports. 

Get Help from Diginex.com 

This post has demonstrated that architects without additional ESG accreditation are likely to struggle in the rapidly changing niche. The best option is to find and work with experts in ESG and sustainability to acquire the required skills and accreditation. However you do not have to search for long because Diginex.com is already waiting to help you with ESG architecture. At Diginex.com, we work with experts with years of experience and are ready to help you get the highly revered sustainability approval. 

In addition to getting the approval, you will also get well versed with different sustainability tools and reporting frameworks. These can help you and your construction firm to change views about architecture, race ahead of the competition and, more importantly, genuinely contribute to the important cause of sustainability. Contact us today to learn more about ESG architects from our experts. 

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