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Net Zero Cities

In making our cities more sustainable, carbon reduction requirements are extending through the full lifecycle encompassing construction and demolition. The solution to achieving ambitious targets is a combination of high-tech, low-tech and no-tech solution.

Emerging technologies such as cleaner Fusion Power, no-carbon concrete, and EV-car batteries that contribute power back to the grid are all impressive.

Motivating behavioral change by individuals shouldn’t be overlooked. One clever example is how Microsoft is discouraging corporate travel by raising its carbon fee to both encourage their staff to think hard about the necessity of any trips, while also putting pressure on airlines to become greener. Any corporate real estate professionals will know all too well the pressure to perform against carbon metrics when dealing with Microsoft and other potential tenants looking to use their real estate portfolio as ‘wins’ against their carbon reductio KPIs.

Siting projects and selecting materials that are appropriate for the location and climate are paramount to allowing passive rather than active (mechanical) systems to be the basis for building operations. Opening a window to allow air to flow through freely, the shade of a tree, good insulation, reflective films on glazing - there are many low-tech measures that can make a large difference while reducing OpEx.

While I am inspired by the possibilities of emerging technologies that tackle the carbon issue, I remain a strong believer that good design remains the basis for reducing energy consumption (and OpEx!) in buildings - let this be the starting point!


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