The property industry must wake up and realise the recent heatwave signalled a final warning, according to a real estate sustainability expert.
Chris Bennett, co-founder and managing director of sustainability services company Evora Global, said the climate emergency has huge, long-term implications for the real estate market, as buildings in the UK are not designed for temperatures in the high 30s, let alone 40s.
“A stiflingly hot office is not a pleasant or productive place to be. Extreme heat will render some workplaces unusable, or barely usable,” said Bennett.
“Some will be practically deserted as working from home re-emerges. When there is such competition to get employees back into the workplace, uncomfortable offices will become devalued.”
Climate change is here and already influencing our environment, said Bennett. Buildings that can manage extreme weather will be valued more highly and investors will increasingly seek real estate assets that are easy and cheap to keep cool for people, perishable goods and IT.
Bennett said he sympathises with building managers who are likely under considerable pressure to keep their offices cool in the face of expensive energy bills. But, not all of them will have the tools to do this.
“For too long, the real estate market has focused on historic data. We are rapidly moving into a very different world, where climate change is a part of our everyday lives,” said Bennett.
“New software uses scientific data to produce forward-looking models of these climate risks. It’s time for the real estate market to wake up and realise it faces substantial financial risks from climate change.”