The exponential increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations since industrialization is leading to an enhanced greenhouse effect. This leads to irreversible damage to natural ecosystems and to our society. The need for mitigation and adaptation measures is critical to sustaining livelihoods and intergenerational equity.
Decarbonization White Paper
Decarbonization must become the focus of real estate development, construction and management
The data basis provided by our white paper consists of a broadscale portfolio study of 36 Implenia development projects based on the SIA 2040, conducted in 2022.
Importance of decarbonization in real estate development, construction, and management
The real estate sector accounts for approximately 36% of primary energy consumption and 37% of greenhouse gas emissions.
This puts the real estate sector in the focus of civil society and policy makers to achieve the 1.5 degree target by 2050 set in the Paris Agreement and reduce global carbon emissions. Based on this realization, the decarbonization approach must become the focus of real estate development and construction.
The term "net zero" is interpreted differently in academic and policy terms. Some studies refer here to "net zero carbon," i.e., only to the operational emissions of a building. Others include the carbon contained in building materials, but consider renewable materials such as wood as carbon sinks.
Total carbon emissions associated with the building's construction and annual operational energy use, as well as its demolition at the end of its useful life, achieve at least a net-zero balance; or excess emissions are fully offset by excess on-site renewable energy production or carbon offsets.
"With the right combination of design, the use of renewable energies, smart systems and ecological materials, we are developing the buildings that future generations deserve."
Marc Lyon, Head Real Estate Development Switzerland
What does the white paper focus on?
The white paper is aimed at investors, developers and builders who want to bring their project to a net-zero target path
The white paper is based on a holistic understanding of a building's greenhouse gas emissions throughout its lifecycle, it not only provides a theoretical framework for defining net zero, lifecycle stages, and international benchmarks-, but also presents the key levers for decarbonising operational and embodied carbon emissions in the development and construction process.
These levers are derived from an internal study conducted by Implenia Real Estate on 36 of its own development projects in Switzerland (new builds). After a brief explanation of the topic of carbon offsetting and its relevance for achieving net zero as an interim solution, the paper concludes with some action guidelines for decarbonisation towards net zero.
Within the scope of the white paper, you will receive answers to the following questions
What does the net zero equation look like?
Which international benchmarks can I use as a guide?
At what stage do I have the greatest impact on a building's carbon footprint?
How are operational and embodied carbon emissions distributed at the building level?
What levers do I have at the time of design, construction, and operation to positively impact operational and embodied carbon emissions?
What are the interdependencies between the various reduction factors?
What building materials can I use to decarbonize a building?
There is no single solution for reducing the carbon content of a building throughout its lifetime
It requires a combination of different strategies that address issues such as: efficiently designed materials, compact buildings, carbon efficient energy systems and low carbon building materials. An analysis of 36 Implenia development projects has shown that the most effective levers for decarbonization can be found in the early planning phase, starting with site selection. If site conditions are unfavorable from a renewable energy perspective, it is much more difficult to achieve net zero. Building parameters established early in the process such as shape, compactness, orientation, basements, and support structure also have a significant impact on emissions targets.
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