We spotted an interesting story recently on PropTech site Unissu which argued that commercial property owners need to start reacting more decisively to climate change, and this needs to happen urgently.

In October last year, the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned we shouldn’t exceed 1.5℃ if we want to prevent an environmental disaster. Our present level of collective action has us on course for an increase of between 3.1℃ – 3.5℃ and we only have 12 years left to change that course of action.

In property terms, 12 years isn’t much time. It can take more than half of that just to get planning permission for a major development. Shockingly, properties account for approximately a third of global CO2 emissions. Most of these emissions come from the operation of the properties, meaning the energy they consume, the gases used in air-conditioning systems and the waste they produce.

For anyone investing in commercial property (such as warehouses or self storage sites), changing global weather conditions are becoming a factor when analysing business risks. You only have to think about last summer’s heat wave, the Beast from the East, and severe flooding across the UK in recent years to see the possible impacts that climate change can have on business operations. In existing properties, action is needed now and in the coming years, both to mitigate carbon emissions and to adapt buildings to changing weather conditions. As climate change and carbon emissions continue to be a major factor in business decision-making, a failure to act soon could materially damage your property and/or business valuation in the near future.

For new builds, the problem is perhaps even more complex since recent studies have shown that there is a major performance gap between the expected levels of carbon emissions on commercial properties, and the actual levels produced. It is critical that companies keep a close eye on their building control systems to ensure that things are running efficiently. Not only should this give staff a more comfortable and productive environment, but the carbon savings in a single commercial property can be several hundred times greater than reducing emissions in a home, so it will be a great help to the planet as well.