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How the real estate sector can help solve Africa’s global warming problems

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It is estimated that 56% of Africa’s overall electricity usage is accounted for by buildings. Large cities are thought to use more than 75% of the electricity produced. As climate change and global warming become more of a problem for Africa, the real estate industry becomes increasingly important to the continent’s efforts at sustainable development. A report by the World Economic Forum, suggests that increasing climate risks is likely to displace millions of Africans from the areas where they live. The report further suggests that up to 2.5 million people could leave Africa’s coastal areas due to sea level rise and other stressors. In the Horn of Africa, climate impacts could force up to 9% of the population – as many as 49 million people – to move in the decades ahead.

This will have diverse impact on the African economy, specifically the real estate sector. One of which is that it increases financial risk for real estate developers. Building owners face substantial financial risks due to rising global temperatures and an increase in natural disasters. For real estate occupiers, storms, floods, and droughts can swiftly demolish structures, displacing thousands of people from their homes.

In the following paragraphs, we will be discussing some of the ways that the real estate sector can help curb the impact of global warming and other climate related crises.

One of the biggest ways to curb climate change is for real estate developers to rethink their business focus. To date, the attention of private real estate developers has been focused on profit maximization. This is good, but there’s a need for a balance between profit maximization and sustainability. In the past decade, there has been an uptake in green building certifications and initiatives across African countries. Certifications like Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) and Green Building Council in Nigeria has been in demand especially in maturing markets like South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. To prevent climate change, green building standards must be implemented in all real estate projects. Buildings’ value and structure can be preserved by acting.

Eko Atlantic City and Centenary City are one of the housing projects going green in Nigeria. The biggest project in the area, Centenary City, is a smart city that will be constructed entirely on a 1,264 hectare parcel of land in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. The Centenary city project places a high priority on preserving the surrounding environment and seeks to achieve social and economic viability by fusing progressive land use with the ideas of sustainable urban design.

The ability to lower Nigeria’s carbon footprint is one of the main benefits of green building. In Nigeria, traditional building techniques mainly rely on non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas.

Lower Operating Costs: One of the main tenets of many green building certifications is energy efficiency. Utilizing natural resources like light and air is a common feature of many green construction projects, in addition to the installation of energy-efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Developers can reduce future utility expenses by strategically placing windows, considering energy sources and equipment, and providing opportunities for natural ventilation. Indeed, according to a General Services Administration (GSA) research, green buildings’ operating expenses were 19% less than the industry average.

Better Occupancy Rates: When it comes to indoor lighting, natural light, acoustics, cleanliness, air quality, and overall building happiness, green facilities often get higher occupancy ratings. This is because green building standards encourage the construction of buildings that support the health and wellbeing of their occupants.

Environmental Responsibility: To minimize environmental effects and reduce carbon emissions, green building approaches are essential. African Real Estate Developers can actively combat climate change by implementing sustainable construction approaches, such as the use of solar panels, effective insulation, and renewable materials. An example of this in Nigeria is the Sterling Bank Tower Building.

Long-term Durability and Resilience: Durability is an essential component of green building design. These buildings are more durable due to energy-efficient technologies, sturdy building materials, and climate-responsive designs. This lowers maintenance costs and generates buyers who are seeking sustainable construction solutions.

Higher Property Valuation: Green building increases a property’s value and marketability. Potential renters and buyers are looking more and more for green-certified buildings as environmental responsibility and sustainability are becoming increasingly important to them. This increased demand will raise property values. It has been estimated that commercial buildings with green certification could be worth up to 7% more in rent. The resale value of green-certified properties has increased by up to 8%.

We often utilize energy-intensive heating and cooling systems to preserve thermal comfort in buildings as a response to climate change. To cut down on energy use, smart building designs that produce ideal interior conditions and passive solar systems that capture solar radiation are becoming popular throughout Africa.

For the African real estate industry, integrating renewable energy sources like solar and wind power offers significant possibilities. Solar photovoltaic systems are a workable option for environmentally friendly building energy.

The urban heatwave effect, in which buildings retain huge amounts of heat during the day and release it at night, will be experienced by more cities worldwide as urbanization and climate change continue. The currently bothersome urban heatwave effect can be leveraged to promote thermal comfort if passive solar systems can be employed to transport that solar radiation into buildings for heating or solar panels to generate energy instead.  Africa landscapes will continue to change due to climate change.

In African cities, adopting sustainable urban planning techniques is essential to reducing the effects of climate change. Resilient urban settings must include effective public transportation systems, varied land uses, and compact development. Reduced carbon emissions and sustainable urban planning provide insightful information for developers and officials.

One of the major factors for sustainable urbanization is having adequate infrastructure. The Sea of China and the Sea of Japan connect Asia, especially South-East Asia, and marine travel places Asian nations in naturally occurring ports and valleys. These countries’ integration has contributed to their growth and development. Much of Africa lacks this benefit because most of its nations are not coastal, there are few inland lakes and navigable rivers, and few inland islands. As a result, there are few large harbors on the continent.

Land infrastructure is essential for integration, and market size for industrialization and urbanization depends on integration. Africa has expanded despite the geographical limitations and must keep developing rapidly to become more competitive. Infrastructure that supports sustainable urban development, which in turn integrates African communities, is crucial to the future of the continent’s cities.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if governments do nothing, there will be a 90% rise in greenhouse gas emissions globally between 2007 and 2030. This increase would be mostly caused by an increase in urbanization, infrastructure, and industry.

Development that is conscious is essential for the economy, social welfare, and the environment. One of the most important aspects of a city’s competitiveness is preventing urban sprawl.

Stakeholders in African real estate can use innovation and best practices to generate beneficial environmental outcomes by working together regionally and adopting an informed approach. Africa can set the stage for future generations to enjoy a more wealthy and sustainable future by utilizing the possibilities of real estate to tackle environmental issues.

 

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