Most of us can recall the early green beacons that sent shockwaves through the sector.

Think 30 The Bond in Sydney, with Australia’s first application of chilled beam technology, or Council House 2 in Melbourne, with its iconic yellow wind turbines.

We remember these buildings because, at the time, they were rare gems.

However, a green building, once a disruptive force in the industry, is now business as usual.

Australia has been recognised as the world’s green leader by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for five years in a row.

A massive 600,000-plus Australians work in Green Star-rated offices; that’s 4.5 per cent of the nation’s workforce.
In an industry always looking for that first mover advantage, what are the disruptive forces shaking things up again?

As we chalk up our hottest global temperatures on record, we must move from “low carbon” to “no carbon”.

The Green Building Council of Australia is working on a new “net zero” label to recognise buildings, fitouts and communities that are energy, carbon or water neutral. Expect net zero to become the new 7 Star Green Star.

“Wellness” is another trend reshaping the industry. Green Star kicked off the conversation by rewarding design and construction choices that enhance indoor environment quality and minimise the use of hazardous chemicals, for example.

However, what happens if the cleaners use harmful products, or the office cafe serves unhealthy food? Organisations are looking at everything from workplace fitness programs to how lighting affects circadian rhythms to help them capitalise on their most important asset: people.

Our understanding of “resilience” is also changing. We can’t adapt to climate change without thinking about how we access fresh food and water, limit urban sprawl, create diverse employment and foster social equity. Melbourne and Sydney have chief resilience officers. And when both cities are expected to double in size over the next 15 years, it’s easy to understand why.

Social sustainability is increasingly in the spotlight as property companies recognise their obligation and opportunity to influence the communities within which they operate. The Homes 4 Homes project, for example, encourages home buyers to donate 0.1 per cent of their sale price to fund social housing for homeless people.

Finally, with workplace equity champion David Morrison named Australian of the Year, expect to see the property industry embrace diversity not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.

This article was originally published at the Sydney Morning Herald, read the original article here.

Sectors: Business