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Why the decarbonisation of our buildings needs sound data analysis

Cinthia Buchheister Cinthia Buchheister Europe Press Office, Germany,Berlin
22 April 2022

With the EU Taxonomy and the disclosure regulations, the European Parliament has set the regulatory course for the decarbonisation of the building sector. In the next few years, real estate investors and operators will actively drive the sustainable transformation of their existing portfolios. The potential of existing buildings is enormous: 220 buildings, i.e. 85 percent of all buildings in the EU, were built before 2021. The vast majority of them will still be operated in 2050 and are therefore the central lever for decarbonising the building sector.

Digital data analysis with integrated engineering expertise

In order to develop tailored decarbonisation strategies for property portfolios, solid data analysis is required in addition to data collection. We recommend integrating engineering expertise. At Arup, we use our CRISP tool and the expertise of our specialists. CRISP stands for Carbon Risk Impact Screening of Portfolios and is a digital platform that screens real estate portfolios for CO2 risks. It helps to reduce performance risks in a targeted manner. On the basis of detailed decarbonisation paths, various scenarios can be run through for the individual assets with concrete technical measures while optimising the cost-benefit ratio.

Visualisation of the application of the CRISP tool on a computer. Visualisation of the application of the CRISP tool on a computer.

Smart timing minimises decarbonisation costs

The sustainable transformation of existing portfolios is complex and cost-intensive. It makes sense to make clever use of synergy effects and thus save up to 60 percent of the costs. Decarbonisation measures must be timed into the maintenance and lease cycles. For example, if a building no longer meets efficiency standards, it needs to be checked when the current lease expires. If the stranding date of the building is only a few years after the lease expiry date, the tenant's departure is the ideal time to implement the technical renovations that will become necessary anyway, including decarbonisation measures.