If the world is to meet the aspirations of COP26, the sector will have to think carefully about both how much real estate is needed and how effectively it is occupied, according to some in the industry.
Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO of workplace technology company, Freespace has said that the pandemic "has shaken up the landscape of corporate real estate and the role it plays in climate change" and "all eyes are on office occupancy and the collective return to work throughout the world".
Krishnamurthy said: "Predictable occupancy patterns present a huge opportunity for organisations to make their buildings more responsive to occupancy thereby lowering their carbon footprint. Many organisations produce high levels of CO2 through building occupancy.
"This includes the energy to run systems such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. Based on data from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, every 1,000 square feet of office space used is equivalent to a carbon footprint of 91 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Restricting occupancy to designated floors of a building during times of low occupancy can lower heating and ventilation levels, reduce elevator miles, lower cleaning chemical demand and increase staff productivity while making a substantial reduction to greenhouse gas contributions.
"Such an impact can be delivered particularly in multi-floor operations of large businesses that can reconfigure their floors to become more flexible and dynamic. If the world is to meet the future aspirations of COP26, we will have to think carefully about both how much real estate is needed and how effectively it’s being occupied.”