Carbon measurement is more important than ever before

All Articles
Carbon measurement is more important than ever before

CLIMATE change is undoubtedly one of our greatest challenges and increased carbon emissions will continue to have severe adverse environmental, social and financial impacts around the world if temperature levels continue to rise.

To deliver a net-zero transition, accurate, consistent carbon measurement and reporting must become central to government policy.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) is urging the Stormont Executive to embed procurement approaches as industry standard and to embrace the Whole Life Carbon Assessment; a tool to evaluate and benchmark the carbon impact in the built environment.

The built environment contributes 43 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, making reductions within the industry vital for protecting the earth from its impact.

The Rics whole-life carbon assessment will track all carbon emissions from the production of materials, through the construction process, as well as the use and disposal of built assets over their entire life cycle. The ‘standard’ enables the industry to hold reliable data on carbon output, which will help us to set and meet targets, and improve our ability to reduce harmful environmental impacts.

Rics is reaching out via consultation to built environment professionals to provide feedback on the second edition of its influential Professional Standard - Rics Whole Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment.

It is hoped that our local government will adopt the standard in their work to tackle climate change impacts, with the second edition acting as a catalyst for wider adoption.

As well as pressures to reduce carbon emissions, economic uncertainty brought about by the Covid pandemic and present geopolitical developments have resulted in price fluctuations across property markets. These developments highlight the importance of an increased focus on valuation and ensuring that assumptions made within valuations are explicit. Being more explicit regarding the assumptions contained within valuations will help those relying upon them to have greater confidence in their accuracy.

The Red Book is the definitive standard by which chartered surveyors deliver valuation advice and it provides mandatory practices for Rics members to adhere to during the delivery of valuation services.

As part of the Rics review into UK valuation practice aimed at safeguarding market confidence and trust in investment property valuation, there is an increased focus on the use of Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) which is a form of valuation that calculates an investment's value based on its ability to receive a predicted future cash flow into the future which encourages greater confidence in accuracy. The DCF consultation is calling for respondents to assess the current Red Book, its content, and proposals for change.

This is a time of enormous transition for real estate investment and the valuation profession. It is of fundamental importance that the standards we produce ensure that regulated members consistently deliver to the highest standards in order to maintain public trust going forward.

Rics is at the forefront of the profession and is recognised as a global leader in advancing carbon measurement tools available to built environment professionals.

Sustainability is at the centre of what we will do going forward, and we are encouraging professionals to embed net-zero carbon targets as industry standard in both decision making and procurement approaches, in order to build a sustainable future for society.

:: Garrett O’Hare is a board member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

Article first published via the Irish News: