The Sustainable Building: A Green Asset
The concept of green assets has emerged in response to shifting mindsets and a growing awareness of environmental issues. They are the result of the socially responsible investment (SRI) approach that integrates environmental, social, and governance criteria into the investment selection process. Article 9 of the European Taxonomy provides specific criteria for evaluating the sustainability of economic activities in an environmental context.
I. What is a Green Asset?
A green asset is an investment that aims to generate a positive environmental impact while providing attractive financial returns. Green assets are designed to address current ecological challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource management. They contribute to the transition to a more sustainable economy by financing projects and initiatives that promote environmental protection and social well-being.
Among these assets, sustainable buildings stand out as crucial elements in the transition to a more planet-friendly economy. However, for a building to be considered a green asset, it must exhibit certain fundamental characteristics:
Energy Efficiency and Responsible Resource Use
Carbon footprint reduction standards require that the asset contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the overall carbon footprint. This objective can be achieved at various stages, from design and manufacturing to use and end-of-life. To achieve this, the use of non-renewable resources such as rare metals and fossil fuels should be minimized while the use of recycled materials and the promotion of circular economy principles are favored. Efficient water use and management are also essential, with practices like rainwater harvesting, adoption of water-saving technologies and implementation of appropriate treatment systems.
Occupant Comfort and Well-being
A significant aspect of a green building is providing a comfortable and healthy indoor environment for residents. If the property is an indoor space, it is imperative to maintain good air quality by using low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting materials, ensuring adequate ventilation and promoting occupant health. Optimizing temperature control, maintaining air cleanliness and reducing noise levels are all factors to consider. Its location and accessibility also play an important role and must be chosen to promote sustainable mobility and minimize impact on sensitive ecosystems.
Long-term sustainability is crucial to avoid the need for frequent replacements and reconstructions. At the same time, sustainable innovation is a vital component of green assets, including innovative technologies and approaches that further enhance environmental performance and sustainability. Green buildings can thus achieve maximum efficiency in both construction and operation.
A concrete example is passive design, an increasingly popular concept. The goal is to optimally utilize local climate conditions to create and maintain an ideal indoor climate for building occupants while reducing reliance on energy sources and environmental control devices.
II. Action Drivers: Certifications and Labels
Certifications and labels contribute to the promotion of sustainable buildings as green assets. They provide official recognition of a building's environmental and social performances. In an increasingly sustainability-focused market, they enable green buildings to stand out and differentiate themselves as environmentally friendly options. Among the most notable certifications are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and HQE (High Environmental Quality). These standards evaluate various criteria such as eco-friendly design, resource management, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort.
III. Pillar of a Promising Future
Green assets encompass far more than a mere environmental response; they offer tangible benefits. By aligning their investments with the principles of the Taxonomy, property owners and developers embark on a path of sustainability leadership. They shape a future where innovation and environmental responsibility lie at the heart of their strategy. This strategic positioning transcends financial returns, as it bolsters their reputation and brand image as pioneers committed to constructing a planet-respecting world. This is an investment that extends beyond the boundaries of the present to provide a sustainable and promising future, while driving positive societal transformation.
However, challenges like initial costs and emerging technologies demand ingenious solutions. Yet, financial incentives, technological advancements, and innovative business models open doors to overcome these hurdles.