Stop Hitting Snooze on Sustainability
After decades of hitting snooze on the wake-up call that is global warming, 2021 seemed to be the year we finally stretched our arms and rolled out of bed.
In 2022, we need to shower (using a shower timer to save water, of course), make breakfast and seize the day.
It is generally a shared consensus now that the climate crisis has reached breaking point – if there isn’t a MASSIVE collective effort made immediately, we could well reach the point of no return very soon.
Last November’s COP26 underlined the mainstream attention the crisis was receiving, with only the most stubborn corners of the conspiracy-touting press remaining unmoved in their anti-science yarn-weaving.
The response to COP26 was hugely encouraging and set the stage for a number of major businesses to share their sustainable vision, pledging their commitment to net zero carbon operations.
So, now is the time for action.
Appropriately, in January, as we start thinking of ways we can improve our individual happiness, health and prosperity, property developers should be doubling down on their efforts to hit the ground running on their sustainability targets. Although, unlike many of our short-lived ‘new year, new me’ gym efforts, the momentum can only afford to build from this point on.
The construction industry is responsible for 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions – a statistic that was bandied about in industry publications in coverage of COP26. This dark cloud that hangs over the industry has already prompted some of the UK’s biggest developers into focussing efforts on reducing their carbon footprint.
CALA Homes, Countryside and Redrow are just some of our clients who have shared their green vision with us, with us helping them to reduce paper consumption through Spaciable or educate their homeowners with energy and water-saving tips, or wildlife conservation advice.
Desperate to shed the role as villain in the climate crisis, acting as understudy for the wider industry, developers will undoubtedly be treating 2022 as their opportunity to complete a character arc, flying the flag for sustainable construction and escaping the finger-pointing that will clearly continue to publicly expose the more slow-acting builders.
The problem many developers may find is the sheer scope of what they need to do to offset the resource-draining nature of construction.
Beyond using sustainable materials and incorporating energy-efficient features in the design of their properties, this could also involve outsourcing certain aspects of the home selling process to energy-efficient suppliers and service providers.
We are proud to count ourselves amongst these, with our Spaciable portal providing a sustainable alternative to paper-based handovers. Used by over 130 developers to onboard homebuyers and support them throughout the developer liability period, Spaciable’s features include an interactive document library, which admins can upload important handover documents and manufacturer instructions to. Across all plots on Spaciable, the Library contains around 14,400 trees’ worth of paper – paper that would’ve otherwise been stuffed in drawers, filed or misplaced, only for a replacement to be reprinted. Spaciable is primarily designed to make life easier for sales and aftercare teams by providing a 24/7 resource for information that encourages home users to become self-sufficient, along with tools that audit and automate processes, such as defect reporting and notifications. These features indirectly support developers’ sustainable goals, by reducing the carbon footprint created by admins travelling to and from site to tend to issues that can be resolved remotely.
In addition to Spaciable, our Sustainability and Community Guides have also supported developers in complying with planning conditions and the former Code for Sustainable Homes. Although the latter is now defunct, any developer that is serious about improving their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials should be exceeding statutory requirements when it comes to educating their customers about using their home sustainably. It is especially important if numerous energy-efficient features have been incorporated into the property, as they are only worthy of the description if they are used correctly. Furthermore, for developers looking to distance themselves from the fearsome 40% statistic, Sustainability and Community Guides provide the ideal opportunity to shout about their sustainability vision.
Having pioneered handover solutions for over 25 years, we have cultivated many long-standing relationships with developers. Our business model is built on a personal touch, with our Customer Experience Managers and Editors working closely with partnered developers to make sure their order and content are most effective within their wider strategy. We offer ongoing support to help developers adapt to changing regulations and consumer demands, and our consultancy-like approach to the relationship between the property industry and environmental matters is one example of how we liaise with developers to find the best solution for their needs.
The alarm has stopped sounding.
We are showered, dressed and fed.
The birds are singing, the leaves are green and the sky is blue.
There could be many days like this in store, but only if we open the door.