The buildings that are not environment-friendly could go unoccupied as eco-friendly properties have become a necessity among tenants and property buyers, a senior industry executive said on Thursday.

Faced with climate change and rising temperature threats, sustainability has become the top agenda of governments around the world, including the UAE.

During the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) event next week, leaders and experts will discuss sustainability, green energy and environment.

“We know that occupiers will not be interested in those non-sustainable buildings and they will be left empty. We are handling 5 million square feet of properties across the world, and we are seeing that occupiers are not interested in non-sustainable buildings anymore because it is hurting their energy bills and environment,” said Louise Collins, head of project and development services UAE and head of engineering and energy for MEA at JLL.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, she pointed out that non-sustainable and non-environment friendly buildings mean that tenants and occupiers would not have the right temperature and fresh air.

Collins was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a whitepaper by JLL to explore the current state of sustainability efforts in the UAE real estate market.

The UAE will host the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), the world’s largest gathering on sustainability, from November 30 to December 12 where leaders and experts will discuss details on how to overcome challenges of rising environmental issues. It is expected that the UAE will announce new regulations that will further strengthen its position as a leader in environmental sustainability.

Louise Collins said sustainability in buildings is a necessity and it needs to happen now for many reasons.

“You are going to have empty dilapidated buildings that are unoccupiable. You will have buildings that the government may close in. You will have buildings that are devalued and losing actual capital and revenues. If we embed sustainability and retrofit them, they will have greater value and occupancy.”

She pointed out that demand for sustainable living is coming from the people buying real estate in the UAE and globally.

She added that eco-friendly projects such as The Sustainability City, Dubai, are seeing high demand as utility bills are up to 80 per cent less in such communities.

“People don’t want hefty electricity and water bills and want to live in those sustainable communities.”

Louise Collins stressed that sustainable homes are more expensive to buy initially, considering the cost in terms of smart home systems, solar panels, water recovery etc., but there are operational benefits as well for such units.

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