How to Maximize Your Investment Through Sustainability

The biggest obstacle for working with sustainable buildings and cities still seems to be financial. It is perceived that sustainability costs extra. Let’s just poke a hole in that myth right now. Sustainability isn’t about adding dressing to a bleak salad to make it look better. It’s about creating a wholesome and tasty meal from the beginning, says sustainability director Ivana Kildsgaard.

Whether you’re a believer in global warming or not, it’s a fact that the 20 warmest years the planet has experienced since the measurements started have occurred during the last 22 years. Global warming will continue, but variations will differ from place to place. Physiologically most humans and the natural environment are not ready for it, and our cities are not adapted. In short, we need to halt its course, and preferably without digging deep holes in our pockets.

Ivana Kildsgaard, hållbarhetschef Tengbom. Foto: Mikael Lundström

A dream scenario for every investor must be knowing with certainty that the value of one’s property will increase over time and is secure regardless of the market’s fluctuation. Also, that one could double the expected profit from each square meter built, at a minimal risk.

With the following five basic and five additional points you will secure the best investment for your money, at a reduced cost for the environment and climate.

Create a solid foundation

By doing the groundwork properly and by prioritizing quality one can significantly reduce potential costs for reconstruction and adaptation. Choosing healthy and sustainably proven materials, like renewable and fossil-free ones, is key to drastically reducing climate impact and potential health risks. By considering building’s whole life cycle and optimizing energy efficiency and use of resources you can significantly reduce both the investment and running costs. You are eligible for green loans. Ensuring a strong identity that carries a sustainable message will directly affect the attractiveness and value of the property. Understanding the different stakeholders is also an important part of the planning process. Finally, securing diversity and equality by adopting norm creative methods enables use for all and raises awareness about vulnerable groups in society.

Great, you’ve come halfway down the road towards a better future.

Most bang for your buck

Great, you’ve come halfway down the road towards a better future. In a perfect world, a building should stand for a hundred years. At least. Preferably, the savings obtained through reduced running costs offer quick investment returns, which ultimately results in revenues.

Here’s how to keep the bottom line as well as the planet green:

  • Understand the users
    Invest in time to analyse the values, needs and expectations of both today´s and future users, as well as socio-economic development trends. By doing this you will secure long term usability of the property, reducing the need for extensive adaptations. Dialogue tools and social impact assessment are efficient methods.
  • Adopt a human-centered approach
    In a world that is becoming ever more digital, spaces that ensure recovery and create synergy with the digital world are becoming increasingly important and valuable. However, a solution that doesn’t prioritize the human will never be sustainable. An evidence-based design approach ensures that the proposals made by the architect are based on scientific evidence, rather than a gut feeling. A happy tenant is a long-term tenant.
  • Go circular
    You can build in additional value in the property if you set requirements for: circular construction and flexibility (possibility for second hand market for materials as well as easy adaptation); shared space (increased use of square meter); and open up for new business models where services rather than ownership dominate. Additional time needed for the design and extra costs for the construction will be paid off in a few years.
  • Go digital!
    Using digital methods and solutions, such as BIM, can improve the planning process and decision-making, as well as reduce material use, waste and costs. With the help of a digital copy of the building, you could keep track of the property’s materials and products, making facility management cheaper and more efficient, as well as increase the value of the property at the end of its lifecycle, by enabling future reuse, repair and recycling.
  • Chose environmental certification
    There is strong evidence that the investment costs can be the same as a contemporary building, but the value of the property is higher. Some systems have higher ambitions, others lower. The higher the ambitions in the planning and construction phase, the higher potential value during operation.

Higher quality at a lower price

A recent study by Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning Boverket showed that the total cost for faults, defects and damages in the real estate sector in Sweden is estimated to amount about 100 billion SEK. Per year. The reality is that many of the property developers today have a challenge in seeing the value of environmental certification of buildings. Investing in quality from the beginning, potentially remediates the need for extensive repairs and renovations in the user stage, saving money and reducing environmental impact.

Investing in quality from the beginning saves money and reduces environmental impact.

Choosing Tengbom as your strategic partner from the idea stage to facility management will not only secure that sustainability is an integrated part of your property, it will ensure higher quality at a lower price. With the use of digital tools, we can easily investigate and create the best decision-making options, ensuring that the best solutions are integrated to a minimal cost.

In other words, if you choose the right cook, the right ingredients with a strong identity and a sense for detail, you’ll not only end up with a great meal, but might be running the next prize-winning sustainable restaurant.

If you’re still in doubt, remember the famous saying by Guy McPherson: ”If you think the economy is more important than the environment (and health), try holding your breath while counting your money”.

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