Sustainability in property development

Sustainability is the concept of developing in a way which meets the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations, depleting our resources or having an unnecessary impact on the environment.

An important way in which we can all be more sustainable is through how we build our homes and how we live to reduce our energy and water consumption and our carbon emissions. Sustainable building is an approach to construction which takes into consideration what is good for our planet and improve comfort living while creating stunning contemporary properties we can all be proud of.  

In many developed countries, these techniques and practices are becoming the norm, with the participants of a recent study forecasting that more than 60% of their projects will be green by 2018. These techniques are used across commercial and residential developments, with more homeowners and developers now prioritising sustainability in their projects, while still producing amazing properties which are a joy to live in.

Spain lags behind some of the other countries in Europe in terms of the widespread adoption of sustainable construction, with poor insulation leading to properties feeling very cold and wasting a lot of energy. However, as more new building projects get under way, growing demand for energy efficient homes and government policies to encourage sustainable building point to a bright future for sustainable building in Spain.

In this article, we will give you an introduction to sustainable building and why it is important for us all to embrace.

What is sustainable building?

Sustainable property building practices look to minimise the effect of construction on our planet. Partner of in Marbella Ton van den Bosch explains; “Sustainability is the essence of modern property development and something we apply to all our projects. It runs much deeper than people generally think - much more than simply ensuring that the buildings are well insulated and utilise renewable energy.

Sustainable construction is a consideration when sourcing materials, when planning deliveries and time on site to minimise carbon emissions, not to mention looking at options for ventilation, water recycling and energy production. It takes time and thought to implement sustainable building practices throughout a project, but it is more than worth the effort, for the client and the planet.”

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Why is it important?

Construction is one the largest ways in which we impact the environment. For example, the UK construction industry is the largest consumer of resources, using more than 400 million tonnes of material a year, which accounts for around 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Once they are built, buildings use 40% of all of the energy consumed in the UK. While residential developments are just a small part of this, they are still a big drain on both energy and materials, and so both developers and owners can make a real difference to the impact our homes have on the planet.  

By applying sustainable building practices, the construction process and the final building reduces wastage of water, conserves natural resources, improves air and water quality and protects biodiversity and ecosystems, so it’s something we should all be striving for.

 Why is it good to live in a sustainable home?

Although implementing sustainable building techniques can cost more at the outset, a main benefit to living in a sustainable build home is how cheap it is to run. Owners see an immediate reduction in energy bills, which quickly offsets any additional investment. Savings are estimated to be around 14% over 5 years according to a recent study and the value of the property is also higher for resale.

These properties are also designed to offer beautiful spaces to live in, which benefit the environment without any reduction in quality of life, and improve occupant health and comfort. This really is a win–win scenario!

Sustainable Building in Spain

Despite a history of poor construction standards and low awareness of environmental issues, Spain is changing for the better and taking important steps to encourage sustainable building. The Junta de Andalucia recently announced a €75.9million investment in financing environmentally-sound and long-lasting projects in Andalucia that will come to fruition before 2022 as part of their new energy efficiency programme. This funding and support will encourage more developers and individuals to adopt these methods, which is excellent news for the quality of construction and the environment.

Design and construction experts in Puerto Banus have been leading the way in sustainable construction for the last decade. All their properties are Energy Level B as a minimum and constructed with sustainable building practices.

Partner Ton van den Bosch explains; “ has been committed to designing, developing and operating our real estate projects with a higher level of efficiency for the last 6 years. We use technology and innovation through every stage of a property’s lifecycle in order to reduce energy and waste, and to manage our resources better. In this way, we seek to deliver superior performance and opportunities for the end users and provide real estate of enduring value.

Today, initiatives of this kind are often seen through the lens of sustainability. But, for us, they have always been smart business practice. Actions to use renewable energy, recycle building materials and reduce waste are grounded in economic decisions to help reduce our operating expenses and mitigate energy price risks. Simply put, we follow sustainable practices in every one of our properties because sustainability builds value.” 

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