Over the summer we experienced record heat in the UK, Europe faced its worst drought in 500 years, floods in Pakistan destroyed millions of homes, California battled severe wildfires and the list goes on. Frighteningly, climate change is expected to worsen the frequency, intensity and severity of these extreme weather events. All the while, the UK and Europe have been battered by soaring energy prices, which is set to worsen as we enter the winter months and the war in Ukraine rages on.

Despite this “doom and gloom”, there is some good news. Every day we see more people, organisations, businesses and governments responding to the crisis by coming together and taking serious action to fight climate change and mitigate its impacts.

Across the real estate sector, it has become widely accepted that by building green and reducing the impact our buildings have on the environment and people, we can change course. In order to help the UK deliver net zero, and spurred on by government changes to building regulations, ESG now sits at the top of the agenda and holds a key role in both real estate investment strategy and daily operations.

At Hollis, when we talk about building green we are referring to every stage of the property lifecycle – from due diligence and acquisition, to planning, design and construction, as well as operations and end-of-life recycling or renewal.

As a Senior Chartered Building Surveyor, what is really interesting is seeing how ESG strategy translates from theory into practice. Rather than environmental considerations being an afterthought, the priority is to make the best use of a building and its unique features. We help our clients incorporate methods, features and technologies across the property lifecycle that effectively address the ‘E’ and the ‘S’ to enhance not only the building but also the health and wellness of its occupiers.

In a recent project, the refurbishment of two industrial units in the east London suburb of Beckton, the client wanted an ESG-compliant building that would result in significant energy savings at an operational level. Our multidisciplinary team is working together to deliver the refurbishment of the unit, providing in-house ESG, mechanical and electrical consultancy, project management and solar PV services.

Some of the ESG and sustainable features involved in the project include LED lighting, a new insulated roof, a full power upgrade of an ageing supply to prepare for the installation of electric vehicle charging points and the transition to renewable energy with rooftop solar PV panels which, upon our advice, are being procured from ethical sources.

ESG is more than just good intentions, it’s about creating a practical plan that achieves real results. The long-term energy and cost savings of projects, such as the example mentioned above, show how sustained outcomes can drive value and growth. But it’s up to us to bring together our best people and the smartest technologies to tackle the biggest challenges of today, whilst capturing the opportunities of tomorrow.