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London ranks as a top three global city for green buildings

Posted: 06/07/2016

London, Paris and Singapore have been ranked as the top three performing cities in the world for their integration of green buildings into the city in a recent white paper, Top 10 Cities For Global Green Buildings.

Published by market strategist, Solidiance, the white paper ranks 10 global cities - Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo - on their green buildings’ performance. Each city was assessed on its green building policies and targets; adoption of green building certification and construction projects; and the efficient performance of the city’s built environment.

According to Solidiance, the three top cities are advanced in the adoption of new and existing green buildings, and experience a high level of green building activity. Green buildings are doubling every year worldwide and London has become a central hub for green building construction.

London and Paris scored highly in the total number and percentage of green buildings. More than two thirds (68%) of all London buildings are green as are 64% of Paris buildings. Only Singapore has more than London’s 1,729 green buildings. But a lack of city-wide performance goals is preventing London from becoming the overall global leader in green buildings.

With buildings accounting for around 40% of global energy use and 30% of city-wide emissions, the UK was the first country to introduce a green building certification system (BREEAM) as a way to benchmark the efficiency measures of modern buildings. But its energy consumption and emissions are higher than that of Paris. Buildings in London are currently using 101,228 gigawatts and emitting 32m metric tonnes of CO2 annually, compared 15,050 gigawatts and 2m metric tonnes emitted by buildings in Paris.

The white paper attributes France’s world-leading green infrastructure to the country’s willingness to set quantifiable targets for energy efficiency and performance in buildings, whereas other cities, including London, are still focusing on activity-based goals such as the number of certifications issued.

However, public bodies are co-ordinating with the private sector to reduce London’s carbon dioxide emissions, an initiative that is encouraged by the Green Organisations Programme. The UK government has also set a national target that requires all new homes built from 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings from 2019 to be carbon-zero.

Developers of new buildings also have to comply with the mayor’s energy policies.

Commenting on the findings of the white paper, James Nadin, a partner in the property investor group, said: “Given the growing evidence that green buildings pay - through reduced obsolescence, higher rental growth, quicker lettings/sales for property investors and reduced operating costs for tenant - it is encouraging to see London performing well against other global cities. But is clear from the report that more needs to be done and it is hoped that the recent EU referendum doesn’t put the brakes on the drive to make London more sustainable.

“While it might be tempting, in the wake of Brexit and the resulting uncertainty in the real estate market, to make savings by reducing investment in green initiatives, this could be short sighted. As Sarah Ratcliffe, programme director at the Better Buildings Partnership, commented to Property Week in October 2015 “green is the new prime.” Continued investment in sustainability should be part of any strategy to protect income and capital values.”

Top 10 Cities For Global Green Buildings can be found here.

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