RICS report shows why managing your building data effectively is key to meeting energy efficiency targets

by Brianna Crandall — November 17, 2017 — To meaningfully support the global climate agenda, the real estate and construction sector must develop a more systematic, coherent and aligned approach to building data management, says U.K.-based international real estate accreditation organization the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

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

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.

Ursula Hartenberger, RICS global head of Sustainability, stated:

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.

The capturing of building data

The report analyzes 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 organizations meet their energy-saving and climate targets.

Hartenberger continued:

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 building 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 was 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.

The Global Trends in Data Capture and Management in Real Estate and Construction report is available to read and download from the RICS Web site. Also find out more about the high visibility of the built environment at COP23 on the site.