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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Gombert

Affordable Sustainability in Real Estate: Challenges and Solutions

Updated: Jun 2

Leveraging Real Estate for Environmental and Social Change


Today, the real estate sector stands at a critical juncture, facing the imperative to adopt sustainable practices. As we delve into the concept of #SUSTAINABILITY, Gunnar Gombert Strategy Consulting is thrilled to offer insights and tailored strategies to help steer the sector towards sustainable development.


The path to a sustainable future (Source: Gunnar Gombert)
The path to a sustainable future (Source: Gunnar Gombert)

The Role of Real Estate in Sustainability


Real estate has a profound capacity to influence sustainability outcomes. It plays a pivotal role in enhancing health conditions, adopting renewable energy sources, practicing the principles of the circular economy, conserving water resources, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some compelling statistics from the German real estate sector:


  • Real estate is responsible for producing 54% of the country's waste.

  • It contains 55% of all utilized materials through urban mining.

  • The sector contributes to 39% of global carbon emissions.


These figures highlight the substantial impact real estate has on our planet, underscoring the urgency for the sector to evolve.


Navigating Sustainability Challenges


The challenge of reducing carbon emissions in real estate is daunting but critical, given its

considerable environmental impact. Current evaluations show that:


  • 97% of the EU's existing building stock fails to meet the required efficiency standards for 2050.

  • Approximately 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been constructed.

  • Buildings typically have lifespans that exceed 80 years, indicating a long-term impact from today's construction and maintenance choices.


To meet sustainability goals, significant changes are necessary, particularly in how buildings are

renovated and repurposed.


Solutions for Sustainable Development


Addressing these challenges calls for a multifaceted strategy:


  • The #renovation rate must exceed 3% annually to align with 2050 sustainability objectives.

  • Implementing a higher #carbonprice could incentivize the preservation and upgrading of existing structures, thus supporting sustainability.

  • Developing innovative financing solutions, such as #carbontaxes, to facilitate these transitions is crucial.


Moreover, the affordability of sustainable real estate remains a central concern. A collaborative

approach between the public and private sectors is essential to bridge financial gaps and promote accessible sustainable housing.


The path towards sustainable real estate is not straightforward and requires bold, flexible strategies. It involves a combination of strategic management, adoption of adaptive and innovative business models (both digital and scalable physical), modifications to existing properties, and robust data collection and transparency in reporting. As we move forward, it is imperative for all stakeholders in the real estate sector to take courageous steps towards a sustainable and equitable future.

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