Update from Alex: Our 2015 Green Property Summit inspired, challenged and celebrated

31 March 2015

What a great day the Green Property Summit was. Last week nearly 200 industry professionals joined us, and a bevy of international experts in Auckland, for the latest on green building.

It’s always hard to synthesise a few impressions from a day of information onslaught, but here goes.

Buildings are for people. They have to be great and healthy spaces to inhabit, otherwise where’s the value? This awareness has long underpinned work in the green building sector, but is now filtering through to the investment community. Buildings that are not designed and constructed with their users in mind, simply fail to perform on many levels. Romilly Madew of the GBCA brought us the thinking from Australia where institutional investors such as Stockland and LendLease are taking a strong lead on sustainability.

Two speakers from New York gave us a mind-blowing view of how data can assist building sustainability and performance. Jeffrey Holmes from Woods Bagot revealed Adelaide’s SAHMRI, a masterpiece of sustainable engineering, while Daniel Davis from CASE took us on a whistle-stop tour through the many ways that smart data is adding value right through the process. It’s cutting edge stuff - and we need to be ahead of the curve.

Closer to home, a very inspiring vision from John Dalzell of Auckland waterfront about the smart precinct they’re creating, with Willis Bond & Co’s Mark McGuinness showing us some supremely liveable concepts of their 7 Homestar apartments.

Mandatory disclosure of performance ratings was a hot topic. While our friends and Summit partners the Property Council vigorously oppose building regulation, our audience was more receptive on the topic of performance - and the message from the Australians was ‘don’t be afraid - just do it’. With IPD’s Anthony de Francesco painting a very clear picture on the improved returns from green investment, maybe we’re getting more prepared to embrace transparency.

Finally, Igloo’s Nick Ebbs presented some innovative thinking from the UK where the ‘world’s first responsible real estate investor’ (according to the UN) is developing award-winning mixed-use communities that must fulfil sustainability criteria – including quality of life - as well as ticking the commercial boxes.

If you couldn’t join us on the day, I urge you to check out the Summit presentations and master class presentations. For those of you who did attend – thanks for helping make the day fantastic.

Alex Cutler