Tag Archives: sustainability

Building integrity: Sustainability, workplace productivity and ethics

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Winston Churchill once noted, “We shape our workplaces and thereafter, they shape us.” Some 50 years after his death, Churchill’s insight has implications for the sustainability field. The design and use of commercial office space influence a host of sustainability topics, including ethics, employee well-being, engagement and worker productivity.

It comes as no surprise that a successful sustainability strategy rests in large part on the built environment. The statistic that approximately 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings is a clarion call for corporate citizens to attend to their bricks and mortar. Traditionally, we have focused on how we can reduce our footprint through more efficient use of energy and disposal of waste, and the payback statistics are now irrefutable.

However, a best-in-class approach suggests there is more to be gained when you leverage the workplace as an ally. The way we design, develop and operate the workplace have profound impacts on our hand-print: the people side of the sustainability equation.

Workplace design influences ethical behavior
In a recent JLL study, 64% of respondents said that workplace surroundings influence the ethical environment, and 81% believe that open office plans generally promote improved behaviors when compared to individual office plans. … Read More

Better design thinking to battle floods

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While the devastation brought by Hurricane Harvey grabbed international attention, other U.S. cities began to feel the pangs of nervousness as many of them are becoming more vulnerable to fiercer storms. In fact, New York City is already reviewing its plans for a massive rainstorm as the existing infrastructure cannot handle more than 1.75 inches of rainfall per hour.

High and fast water rising in Bayou River with downtown Houston in background under cloud blue sky. Heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey caused many flooded areas in greater Houston area.

In the U.S., the National Climate Assessment has observed above-average rainfall since 1991 with the greatest increase in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains regions, which have seen a rise of over 30 percent compared to pre-1960 levels.

Going by recent reports, floods cause greater property damage and more deaths than tornadoes or hurricanes. And Houston’s flood was truly a disaster of proportions: the sky unloaded nine trillion gallons of water on the city within two days!

With cities continuing to grow upwards and outwards, the effects of heavy rainfall been compounded. “The more impermeable surfaces you have, the more you obstruct natural runoff,” says Franz Jenowein, JLL’s Director of Global Sustainability Research. “This translates to greater potential for excess water to negatively affect cities.”

It is equally a design problem as much as it is climate change. In the face of such natural calamities, better urban planning and city design can come to the rescue.

Build to suit?

Urbanization has been blamed for many modern day environmental disasters. However, there can be an exception. “Urbanization can be a problem—but it can also offer solutions,” says Jenowein, citing Singapore as a case in point.… Read More

Measuring the value of sustainable real estate investment

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While the current U.S. federal administration may be downplaying the benefits of sustainability, a new international study finds evidence that publicly-traded green real estate is more profitable to investors than non-green.

The award-winning study entitled “Decomposing the Value Effects of Sustainable Real Estate Investment: International Evidence” measured the impact of sustainable investment on the value and performance of listed real estate investment firms (REITs) by comparing countries with and without mandatory environmental reporting on investment properties. The study’s findings suggest that environmental reporting requirements may help improve the environmental performance of properties and enhance transparency.

In the U.S., a country that does not legislate green reporting, REITs that have green portfolios were found to achieve higher rental incomes, lower interest expenses and increasing cash flow, which benefits shareholders. They also carry lower systematic risk, are subject to more informed trading, and attract higher premiums to net asset value than firms with a non-green portfolio.

By contrast, in the United Kingdom (U.K.), where reporting on environmental performance is mandatory, the difference in the earnings of green buildings … Read More

Using education to foster action: making sustainability relatable for children

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Q&A: JLL’s Emily Scofield

Emily Scofield is the Director of Energy Sustainability Services (ESS) and Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) for the Bank of America account. She is also the author of a children’s environmental book entitled “CoCo and Dean: Explorers of the World.” The book introduces current environmental issues through the outdoor adventures of siblings, CoCo and Dean.

The concepts of carbon footprint, landfills and ocean plastics can be heavy, but Emily keeps it light-hearted through the siblings’ relatable interactions with nature and one another. She draws readers into the story even more with unique illustrations juxtaposed against photographs of nature. These images allow the reader to creatively imagine the scene depicted in Scofield’s text. The book has been used to reinforce lessons about sustainability in schools and with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.

Emily Scofield’s love for nature and environmental protection has been present since she was running around the creek bank behind her childhood home and exploring the woods at her grandparent’s farm. As a pre-teen she realized the business opportunity in being sustainable and collected her family’s aluminum cans for recycling money. During the Earth Day revival of 1990, Emily was made aware of global environmental issues that further stoked her passion for the planet. This passion has never waned and Emily’s career path reflects her dedication. Before her children were born, Emily was an adjunct professor at four different colleges in North Carolina, teaching Environmental Science, Issues in Science and other related subjects.

Emily continues to educate others on sustainability through her position at JLL and now through the book, “CoCo and Dean: Explorers of the World”. Emily intends for CoCo and Dean to be the first in a series of adventure tales to elevate children’s eco-awareness. Emily invites you to journey with CoCo and Dean in three short stories as they travel the world to spread the word of environmental responsibility.… Read More

Real estate’s role in developing smart cities

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Cities are expanding at an unprecedented rate and so is their complexity. By 2050 the world will be populated by an estimated nine-billion people. Seventy percent of people will live in urban areas, many of them in new towns and mega-cities.

In order to be competitive, cities will need to be sustainable, have good transportation systems, and have high-density, mixed-use and efficient infrastructure with low carbon emissions. To support their vast urban populations, cities will increasingly rely on smart infrastructure to efficiently deliver vital services, such as power, water, public transit, distribution of goods and services, waste management and security.

The Smart Cities Council defines smart cities as those that have “digital technology embedded across all city functions,” while the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers describes them as “bringing together technology, government and society” across the economy, mobility, environment, people, living and governance.

There are several reasons that smart cities should be of interest to developers, long-term investors and corporate real estate professionals. Perhaps the most obvious is that smart, sustainable cities command higher land and property values, which attract large-scale investors.

However, the real estate industry needs to understand that the buildings sector plays a huge role in helping to make cities smart. That is because the key to smart cities is data analytics – an important element of which relates to the millions of buildings and the huge masses of population that they accommodate. To gain maximum value from owning or managing assets in a smart city, the real estate itself should also be ‘smart’. Smart buildings and smart cities both generate and require big data.… Read More