Principles of Sustainability in the Real Estate Sector

Development in the real estate sector has seen a significant rise in the past decade. Specifically, we saw a 3.2 % increase in investment compared to last year. While it is obvious that growth in this sector is likely to rise considering the rapid population movement to urban areas, it isn’t quite straightforward to ascertain that the responsibilities and practices people follow ensure sustainable development. Sustainability has become a worldwide need; experts in anthropology have all directed our attention to the growing concern of climate change. 

Reliance on combustible energy exacerbates and propels global warming, rising sea levels, and devastating levels of pollution. The ease and accessibility of energy through fossil fuels is a temptation that cannot be abstained from overnight. Hence, the process of moving towards sustainable energy must come slowly and carefully. 

Energy Consumption in the Real Estate Sector

The real estate sector contributes to 20 % of carbon emissions globally. Carbon emissions impact the natural environment and its habitants. This means our life expectancy is reduced as well as the wellbeing of our planet. Contributing one fifth of the world’s carbon emission, the real estate industry needs to recognize its impact on driving positive change in the environment.

What makes matters worse is the destruction of trees, which naturally reduces carbon dioxide in the environment. Aside from carbon emissions caused due to the construction process, it is also necessary to evaluate pollution levels, waste management, recycling, and water management. 

The construction and development of buildings also consumes fresh water. Specifically, 12 % of the world’s freshwater consumption is likely to be consumed by buildings, according to a World Bank report. These statistics are likely to rise with growing urbanization. By 2030, UN reports that 60 % of the global population will live in urban areas.  This will necessitate a sound and reasonable way to foster development in the sector.

Key Issues of Sustainability in the Real Estate Sector

Several sustainability issues need to be addressed in the real estate sector. For instance, issues of legality have been a great concern. The National Accountability Bureau sent out a message warning citizens not to invest and pay heed to unlawful schemes. Fraud is not something that can be eliminated completely with ease. Hence, we require stringent measures in place to ensure accountability. Similarly, pushing environmental change in the real estate sector would entail legal ramifications. Recently, the government of Pakistan announced a housing scheme for lower income groups, named Naya Pakistan Housing Project. NPHP uses prefabricated housing, which is an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional building process. It is quite clear that traditional housing cannot be completely replaced with such initiatives, but they are a step in the right direction. For example, AH Group of companies has planned to incorporate green initiatives in their projects. One of their projects, AH City, relies on a mega solar panel electrical grid. To summarize, issues of sustainability aren’t limited to the real estate sector alone but apply to society at large as well.

Principles of Sustainability

Principles of sustainability must advocate bringing together different stakeholders in the development process. We often hear ambitious and exciting goals set by the United Nations. For example, at the United Nations Climate Conference, reducing global warming by 2 degrees became a global indicator of sustainability. This target does, in principle, help various parties coordinate their strategies for mitigating unsustainable practices. However, its effectiveness on the ground only comes to life through collaborative efforts within various agencies and stakeholders. Each stakeholder brings to the fore a unique issue that must be considered. Board members, tenants, planners, and governments must work together to build and move toward environmentally friendly policies. Policy making in its essence is always a joint effort.

It takes time, resources, and energy. To make the process easier, each locally governing body must critically assess its own capacity to meet the environmental goals set by the United Nations. Similarly, the development goals of the UN must take into account the ground realities of different regions. Real estate projects must remain updated with human development goals. For instance, the developmental issues of a particular country depend on multiple factors such as climate, culture, geopolitics, and economics.

Principles of environmental sustainability must keep in view the peculiarities of each region. The decision-making process also needs to be balanced. Too much authoritative direction can often alienate other voices. The key takeaway is continuous reevaluation of one’s development standards. Ensuring sustainable growth does come at a cost, which is often a resource most investors aren’t willing to consider. Iterative growth must be incorporated into the development plan to ensure sustainability.


To conclude, the principles of environmental sustainability in the real estate sector must take into account the needs of different actors, environmental goals set globally, and the level of public awareness. Sustainability is the future of everything we want to create. It not only ensures a healthier planet and gives us more freedom in the long run. The real estate sector has become the bedrock of economic growth simply due to the massive rural-urban transformation. Hence, key organizations within the real estate sector must be cognizant of the environmental issues we face as a globe.

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