To meaningfully support the global climate agenda, the real estate and construction sector must develop a more systematic, coherent and aligned approach to data management.

This is one of the key findings in a new RICS report, to be launched at the annual United Nations meeting on climate change, the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23), in Bonn, Germany this week.

Find out more: High-visibility for the built environment at COP23

About the report

The report called “Global Trends in Data Capture and Management in Real Estate and Construction”, draws on the views and insights of building sector leaders - including representatives working in public policy, finance and investment - who are part of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC). The Global ABC, of which RICS is a founding member, was established at COP21 in 2015 to develop a more coordinated sectoral approach to tackling climate change.

Within the Global ABC, RICS is part of a dedicated working group on measurement, data and accountability. Following an extensive global survey of our stakeholders, the report pulls together how collecting, managing and sharing data across the sector can support larger climate goals. Better data means more market transparency, more informed decision-making, reduced investment risk and the ability to track and measure the all-important targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

Energy use in buildings and construction represents more than one-third of global energy consumption and contributes to nearly one-quarter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide.  The built environment sector therefore has an important role to play in reducing carbon emissions.

Read and download the report

The capturing of data

The report analyses how building related data, including physical, performance and financial information, is currently being captured and managed by key sector representatives. It also highlights the gaps that current data capture and management patterns can have for how countries and organisations meet their energy-saving and climate targets.

As part of our commitment to advancing the global climate agenda, RICS is promoting International Property Measurement Standards to inform energy performance measures as a key metric for benchmarking the physical size of a building. Given the emphasis on driving investment into more energy efficiency measures in the built environment, the report aims to help governments, investors, developers, corporate occupiers and property professionals understand how better data management can protect their investments and assets through supporting the global climate agenda.

Better whole life-cycle data capture, management and reporting enables government decision-makers, for example, to:

  • Assess and develop more effective sustainability policies and incentive schemes,
  • Stimulate more large-scale investment and financing of energy efficiency,
  • Kick-start innovation, and
  • Enable sector participants to build holistic strategies targeted at reducing carbon emissions during planning, construction and real estate use.

Fragmentation and silo-thinking

While the report lists an encouraging number of good practice examples and public and private initiatives, the overriding message of the survey is that the fragmentation and silo-thinking that the sector is known for, also translates into the way it handles its data. 

The report will be presented to key stakeholders at COP23, to promote collective action and a common approach across the sector in an effort to meet global climate targets.

Read and download the report

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