The link between New York and Warsaw office markets is ‘green’

As part of its 2022 global “Impacts” research program, Savills, the international real estate advisor says 38% of North American and European cities have set net-zero targets, while the proportion is 18% of cities in Latin America, 17% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 14% in Asia-Pacific, and 4% in the Middle East and North Africa – Property Forum writes referring to Savills World Research.

Over 70% of existing offices will need to be retrofitted

According to Savills World Research Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Warsaw – even with less ambitious net-zero goals – have over 40% of their total office stock certified ‘green’, making these markets some of the most environmentally sustainable in the world. Whereas some major cities like San José, Oslo, and Berlin with the most ambitious net-zero goals in the world, have currently under 20% of their office stock certified ‘green’ based on the analysis of the distribution of LEED, BREEAM and WELL certifications. 

On average, only 28% of total stock in the top 20 cities with the highest number of green buildings is certified, meaning that over 70% of existing stock will need to be retrofitted.

85% of existing buildings will be with us in 2050 when Europe aims to be climate neutral 

“To achieve climate neutrality, we need much broader strategies than just building certification. The right choice of a certification scheme for sustainable buildings should complement a broader ESG strategy designed to meet net-zero targets and minimize the negative impact of buildings on our natural environment and health. We should remember that by 2030 all new commercial buildings will have to reach net-zero, followed by all buildings in 2050. The biggest challenge is that over 85% of existing buildings will still be with us in 2050 when Europe aims to be climate neutral”- Property Forum quotes Katarzyna Chwalbińska-Kusek, Head of ESG & Sustainability at Savills Poland.

The most established office locations face the biggest challenges

Paul Tostevin, director of Savills World Research, comments: “As highlighted in the recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some of the most established office locations face the biggest challenge given they need to retrofit existing stock in an environment of rising construction costs. Meanwhile in less mature markets, typically those in the Middle East, Africa and India, there’s an opportunity to add new environmentally-compliant buildings from the outset.”

Ambitious net-zero goals are prioritising retrofit over new development 

Due to the carbon impact of construction avoiding demolition is rising on the list of positive attributes – Chris Cummings, Savills Earth director at Savills highlights. Referring to the research he adds that cities with ambitious net-zero goals are prioritising retrofit and refurbishment over new development. Still, local and national policies aren’t yet doing enough to support these projects. “Given the gap between many cities’ ambitions and the current state of office stock collaboration between public and private sectors is key” – Cummings concludes.


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