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Our Director Simon recently had the privilege of speaking at the Green Cities Summit in Melbourne, as part of the 'Trend Spotting with Global Green Leaders' panel.

Simon was joined on the panel by Chris Pyke - Research Officer, U.S. Green Building Council, Dorah Modise, Chief Executive Officer, Green Building Council of South Africa, Joelle Chen - Regional Head, Asia Pacific Network, World Green Building Council, Kamyar Vaghar, President, International WELL Building Institute, Yvonne Soh - Executive Director Singapore Green Building Council.

The main trends discussed are as follows:

Zero Carbon – The growing worldwide commitment of going net zero carbon. The NZ Government has made the commitment to net zero carbon with the target of 2050, which would put New Zealand in the vanguard of climate action. Sweden aims for net zero emissions by 2045. Norway has bid to be carbon neutral by 2030. Both nations will rely on offsetting residual emissions by buying international carbon credits and planting trees.

The US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany and the EU have all committed to deep emissions cuts by the middle of the century, but not net zero.

Internet / Data: Increased use of systems and technology to manage efficiencies within sustainable green buildings.

Return on Investment: The realisation that the industry needs to start viewing sustainable green buildings as a good investment because of the return on investment at the completion of a project and throughout the buildings life, using LED / Solar / greywater systems etc. Projects should be viewed with a holistic whole of life approach, not just the front up capital and traditional views of return on investment.

Innovation in Energy: The combination of plunging costs for renewable energy, broader adoption of distributed energy storage systems, new financing strategies, and real concerns about local and global air pollutants are coming together to fundamentally change how we provide energy for buildings and communities. These factors will accelerate innovation in the design and operation of community- and building-scale energy systems. In the years ahead, high-performance buildings and communities will be much more than “just” energy efficient. They will dynamic parts of a community energy system with combinations of on-site generation, distributed energy storage, and advanced demand control technology.

Priority on Population Health Promotion: Aging populations, rising health care costs, social inequity, and related concerns are motivating policy makers to look to the built environment for practical strategies to improve population health. The emerging focus on population health is much more than a focus on wellness for the well-to-do. The built environment will be asked -- in some cases demanded -- to help address the health needs of the most vulnerable populations. This will include intentional, multi-scale action to address issues such as social isolation, social capital, and physical activity. In tackling these global health issues, investors, developers, owners, and operators will be challenged to go beyond good intentions and deliver measurable results at the population scale. Companies that can meet these challenges will be rewarded with new development opportunities and access to new sources of capital.

Building Performance Measurement: Trends in information technology mean that it has never been cheaper, easier, or more practical to measure the operational performance of buildings, portfolios, or even entire communities. In fact, we’ve reached the point where performance measurement for operating buildings has become expected and, in many places, standard practice. The absence of information about asset performance will increasingly be seen as a risk and liability. In other words, without performance information, responsible investors and prospective customers must assume the worst. The ubiquity of operational performance measurement will put increasing pressure on long-standing codes and standards to stay relevant. The demand for performance data will be tempered by real and persistent challenges turning data into actionable information. The industry must overcome long-standing challenges to the interpretation and communication of complex performance data. The is coming to a head in some leading markets with contentious debates about the design of fair and meaningful energy labels.