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How Resilient is your Building

Jess Freeman • 09/11/2022

Leonard HinesLeonard Hines, Cushman & Wakefield's Senior Building Services Engineer, Project & Development Services sheds light on the resilience of the built environment and what companies can do to future proof their assets.

Climate disaster risk is created by the built environment’s interaction with nature.

The risk to the built environment depends on how disposable, resilient or rebuildable the building is or how you can maintain building operations after a disaster and what back-up plans are in place to minimise the risk.

Minimising risks starts with initial design however for existing buildings includes changing existing building façades, upgrading building services, relocating building services, reducing your impact on the environment and confirming what your action plan is when your building fails or is shut down.

To reduce the impact on the environment, Cushman & Wakefield has committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our corporate offices and operations to 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. This represents 70% of emissions at our managed properties, with an aim to set science-based targets by 2025 and reach net zero emissions across our entire value chain by 2050.

Now, it’s important to ask how resilient will your building be to increasing temperatures or changing rainfall?

Just increasing the capacity of your air conditioning system only adds to the climate problem, increases your power consumption and adds to climate change.

A few quick fixes include adding external/internal shading devices to your windows, adding green facades and roof, changing your lighting to LED with smart controls, reviewing and upgrading building controls which all reduce your air conditioning requirements as well as building services energy and water consumption.

In the last three years, major Australian cities as well as other cities around the world have been affected by increasing storm intensity, flooding, rising temperatures, fires/smoke affecting outside air quality and interruption to electricity and water supply. All of which have caused damage to buildings, building services and downtime for tenants and lost revenue.

Upgrading to water efficient fixtures, fittings and appliances, incorporating rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling reduces water use and dependency on water infrastructure.

Installation of passive energy generation from solar panels on roofs and facades or wind generators can help reduce carbon emissions and installation of back-up power generators provide power when the local grid is interrupted.

I often ask my clients, “What are you doing to improve the resilience of your property? When are you going to act?”

The carefree comments of yesteryear; “She’ll be right, mate, fix it later” is no longer sufficient – and I urge you and my clients to act now and save your investment and tenants from unnecessary repairs and downtime.

If you need guidance in this area, Cushman & Wakefield’s experienced national team of sustainability specialists and engineers are dedicated to providing outstanding solutions to owners, occupiers, developers and investors to achieve their sustainability vision and goals – and are here to help you. So, reach out now!

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