These highlights provide a glimpse into the discussions and insights shared at this year's CREtech event in London, showcasing the intersection of technology, sustainability, and innovation in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry.
Industry leaders and experts convened to explore the role of technology in shaping the future of CRE, addressing challenges and opportunities, and driving sustainability initiatives.
The event shed light on the importance of integrating technology, managing data effectively, fostering collaboration, and understanding customer needs to achieve sustainability goals while creating a platform for problem-solving in the real estate sector.
These highlights capture key takeaways from thought-provoking discussions and presentations that offer valuable perspectives on the evolving landscape of CRE and its tech-enabled future.
1. Future of CRE is Tech-Enabled
Raj Singh, head of corporate venture capital at JLL, and Stephanie Hyde, CEO of JLL UK, discussed the role of technology in the future of commercial real estate (CRE). They acknowledged the industry's slow adoption of technology but emphasized its crucial role in the future of CRE.
Integrating technology, however, poses challenges. The industry's approach to tech is still maturing, and solutions are still being developed. Managing expectations is important as perfect functionality from the outset is unrealistic.
Another challenge is the overwhelming number of commercial real estate technologies available. While the abundance of choice is beneficial, finding distinctive solutions that integrate well with other platforms and offer a competitive advantage can be difficult.
To address these challenges, JLL follows a strategic approach called "Built by Investment Partner," developing and investing in technology solutions that meet their business needs. Singh stated that JLL aims to provide technology solutions that benefit tenants, owners, and their own operations. They also aim to educate clients about available technology solutions and sustainability.
JLL recognizes the transformative potential of technology in CRE and aims to shape a sustainable and efficient future for the industry while meeting the evolving needs of occupants and clients.
Technology plays a crucial role in the future of commercial real estate (CRE), but the industry has been slow in fully embracing it.
JLL aims to develop and invest in technology solutions that meet their business needs and make a positive difference for tenants, owners, and their own operations.
However, driving internal adoption of technology is challenging due to existing incentive structures that prioritise revenue over innovation. Collaboration with tech solutions and addressing the evolving needs of occupants and clients are crucial in shaping a sustainable and efficient future for the CRE industry.
2. Ask Me Anything with Carl Brooks from CBRE
Carl Brooks, Global Head of ESG at CBRE, highlighted the challenge of collecting comprehensive energy data on tenants and suggests aggregating data from energy suppliers, aggregators, and consumers.
Collaboration between landlords and occupiers through green leases is essential for achieving net-zero goals. Tools like the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) help guide investment strategies to align with emission reduction targets.
Brooks also emphasised the importance of physical accessibility, neurodiversity considerations, and internal air and environmental quality in reducing commute stress and enhancing occupant productivity in office buildings.
Understanding occupiers' needs, measuring and improving occupant satisfaction, and conducting tenant surveys and post-occupancy evaluations are key areas of focus.
Internal air quality, occupant satisfaction, and engagement are crucial considerations in the real estate industry. Building performance analysis and necessary upgrades require extensive research to ensure healthy and safe conditions for occupants.
Landlords and investors need to work closely with occupiers to reduce consumption and decarbonize assets, guided by tools like the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) to align with Paris Agreement targets.
Additionally, there is a growing focus on integrated accessibility, promoting active travel, electric vehicle charging, and enhancing internal air and environmental quality to reduce commute stress and enhance occupant productivity. Understanding occupiers' needs and desires through tenant surveys and post-occupancy evaluations is crucial for shaping building management practices.
3. Sustainability in the Built Environment
Next was panel discussion titled State of Sustainability in the Built Environment. The panel consisted of Hala El Akl, Senior Director of ESG and Operations at Oxford Properties, Simon Cox, Senior Vice President of Prologis UK, Gabriella Zepf, Director of Sustainability at SEGRO Plc, Alex Edds, Head of Sustainability at LaSalle and Julie Emmrich, Sustainable Finance Lead at World Green Building Council acting a moderator.
The panel discussed the need for upskilling, circular economy principles, nature-based solutions, and alignment with net-zero carbon goals to reduce emissions and preserve biodiversity.
Improved data collection, integration technologies, and collaboration between landlords and tenants are necessary for achieving sustainability goals.
They emphasised the importance of separate teams for asset management and delivery, retrofitting technologies, automating data processes, collaboration, systemic change, understanding the customer, and establishing problem-solving platforms in the real estate sector.
Upskilling and diversifying are necessary to effectively address the complex challenges in the field of sustainability in the built environment.
Real estate companies should prioritize circular economy principles, nature-based solutions, and align with net-zero carbon goals to reduce emissions, deploy renewable energy, and preserve biodiversity.
Improving data quality, accessibility, and integration technologies is crucial for achieving sustainability goals. Collaboration between landlords and tenants is emphasised as essential for decarbonising buildings, requiring a shift in conversations during lease renewals and refurbishments.
4. Net-Zero Buildings and Sustainable Neighbourhoods
Hélène Chartier, Director of Urban Planning and Design at C40, highlighted the role of cities in fighting climate change and reducing emissions from buildings. She emphasised the importance of retrofitting existing buildings, measuring and disclosing embodied emissions, and promoting sustainable construction practices.
Urban regeneration and brownfield development should be prioritised over greenfield development to prevent the consumption of natural land. Creating complete neighbourhoods with mixed communities, housing choices, and key amenities is crucial. Incorporating nature and green spaces into cities helps combat climate change and improve liveability.
Cities play a crucial role in combating climate change and can take policy and operational actions to reduce emissions. Buildings contribute significantly to global emissions, highlighting the importance of focusing on reducing both operational and embodied emissions.
Retrofitting existing buildings, promoting energy efficiency, and investing in renewable energy sources are important steps being taken by cities like New York and Seoul.
Sustainable construction practices, adaptable building designs, and the concept of complete neighbourhoods are being prioritised to create more resilient and livable urban environments.
Incorporating nature and green spaces into cities is also crucial for combating climate change and mitigating the risk of heatwaves. Overall, cities are implementing various strategies to address climate change and promote sustainability.
5. Coen van Oostrom from Edge Technologies
Coen van Oostrom, Founder and CEO of Edge, emphasized the need for sustainable buildings to address health, safety, and environmental challenges. He highlighted the use of technology and innovative design to create sustainable buildings that outperform traditional ones.
Edge Technologies has developed a prototype for connected buildings that optimize energy consumption using sensors and real-time data. Van Oostrom stressed the importance of reducing operational and embodied carbon emissions through new technologies and collaborations with partners and stakeholders