The GCC building industry is expected to experience annual growth of up to 4% in 2023-2024. This is despite the economic decline and is due to investments in sustainable design strategies and ESG-related programs. These findings are according to a report by Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning company.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Many organisations are now seeing the emergence of a powerful tool for climate change action. This tool being their real estate. So, the report emphasises a great opportunity for sustainable developments. But it also highlights the importants of using clean energy in real estate too.
SEQUESTERING CARBON AND USING LOCAL MATERIALS
The continued drive towards operational net-zero goals continues. This means that there is a preference for developments and designs that sequester carbon in buildings. There is also a preference for locally manufactured materials too. This is particularly important as embodied carbon analysis gains recognition.
GENSLER'S GLOBAL NETWORK
Gensler has over 53 locations and more than 7,000 professionals. The company's network spans Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. According to Samar Hussein, Design Resilience Leader, and Associate at Gensler Middle East, advocacy for local building code improvements is crucial. This comes as governments seek to raise the standard across projects.
SUSTAINABILITY TRENDS IN THE GCC
Samar Hussein outlined the following sustainability trends in the GCC. He emphasised the region's potential for growth in this sector.
Increasing Importance of Carbon Performance Certifications
Carbon performance certifications will grow in importance on a global scale in the immediate future. Companies are shifting to a culture of transparency around their environmental commitments. Net-zero energy and carbon certifications will become baseline expectations.
Regenerative Systems and Transforming Existing Buildings
Europe is exploring regenerative systems, and the Middle East is following suit. Climate action strategies that benefit local environments and generate renewable, clean energy will increase. So, these will transform existing buildings and materials with reuse strategies. These strategies will even out grow the rate of new construction.
Certifications for Socially Responsible Strategies
Certifications will emerge to better define and measure socially responsible strategies, the 'S' in ESG. Funds are increasingly seeking clarity on equity, inclusion, and wellness. New evaluation systems will encourage the enforcement of baseline sustainability measures globally and across the Middle East.
The GCC has a unique opportunity to develop and install sustainability measures across new projects. While the region is far behind the rest of the world in building renovation and reuse volumes, there is potential for the GCC to learn from Europe and partner for advancement in these sectors.
Renovating existing building stock to a zero-carbon-ready level is a priority for advancing the region's sustainability targets for 2030 to 2060. Renovating buildings can save up to 75% of trapped carbon emissions compared to new builds.
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