Making cities and large buildings sustainable is key to tackling climate change

Making cities and large buildings sustainable is key to tackling climate change

With World Earth Day taking place this week (Saturday 22 April), sustainability expert Chris Bennett warns that our cities aren’t designed for climate change

Soaring temperatures are making many cities across the world unbearable in summer, but redesigning them is a key part of tackling climate change, a sustainable property expert says.

Chris Bennett, founder of sustainability services company Evora Global, points out that close to 40 percent of carbon emissions come from real estate.

He says this fact has been ignored for too long but now, on World Earth Day, Bennett is calling for us to direct our efforts towards adapting our cities for the better.

“The climate emergency has huge, long term implications for our cities and major buildings. Many cities across the world were all designed for much cooler temperatures than we are experiencing now,” said Bennett.

“Last summer, heatwaves brought record breaking temperatures and clearly many people struggled to cope. Offices became unpleasant to work in and just walking down the street was hard. This revealed the drastic need for us to change course.

“Real estate accounts for almost 40 percent of carbon emissions. Our cities are also very pollutive. This is where the action needs to take place.”

Bennett says greener cities with more trees are proven to be good for the environment, as well as for wellbeing.

“In London, for instance, we are blessed with many urban parks and squares that the Georgians and Victorians created.

“It would be great to see a new generation of parks and green spaces created that are as good or even better than these.

“In some areas parked cars dominate the streets and there are very few trees, it would be good for cities as a whole if this was reversed. Planting street trees increases protection from the climate by reducing heat stress, as well as reducing the degradation of urban construction materials, making buildings last longer.

“We also need workplaces that are well ventilated and which have plenty of natural light and green spaces. I see World Earth Day as an opportunity to rethink, redesign and rebuild our cities for the better.”

About Chris Bennett and EVORA

Chris is co-founder of sustainability services company Evora Global, whose clients include Invesco Real Estate, Hines and M&G. Founded in 2011, the company has over 200 staff and is a major proponent of the use of ESG data. Evora also recently made it into the FT 1000, as the 2nd fastest growing UK company in the real estate sector.

Evora’s SIERA software enables its clients to make investment decisions regarding climate change and sustainability.

Background info: Met Office climate attribution scientist Nikos Christidis said that 40°C days in the UK are now as much as 10 times more likely than they would be ‘under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.’

Improving the health of our towns and cities with green roofs