The real estate sector is one of the key contributors to global warming, as the sector accounts for 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to Forbes. These emissions are caused by the components of building materials like steel and cement or buildings themselves through their energy supply. Therefore, there is a global shift towards sustainability in real estate, as the main solution to tackle ongoing changes in the environment. Domestically, the cement industry causes 51% of carbon emissions in the industrial sector in Egypt, while the construction sector causes no less than 23% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency.
The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) will be organized in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 6th to 18th. Egypt will be the president of the 27th edition of the Conference of the parties, amid clear recognition of the gravity of the global climate challenge. COP27 will be based on the results of the 26th edition of the Conference of the parties to take measures regarding a group of critical issues to address the climate emergency, including the immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, development of resilience and adaptability to the inevitable effects of climate change, and fulfillment of obligations of financing climate efforts in developing countries.
In the context of the state’s plan to build eco-friendly cities and properties that can cope with the global warming phenomenon to save property wealth, Mai Abdel Hamid, Chairman of the Mortgage Finance Fund, notes that 7,998 units will be offered for construction based on the green urbanization model in Capital Gardens city, according to the green urbanization initiative, in collaboration with the World Bank and the Housing and Building National Research Center. The initiative aims to build 25,000 certified housing units based on the classification of the green hierarchy of social housing in four Egyptian cities; Capital Gardens, New Obour, New Aswan, and Hurghada.
Thus, Invest-Gate met a group of experts to discuss the importance of the implementation of sustainable green urbanization in Egypt for the realization of sustainable development, in tandem with hosting COP27.
Climate change & Real Estate
Green urbanization and the reduction of levels of pollution have become a global trend. Egypt is seeking to join that trend to rationalize energy consumption and achieve sustainable development. Many calls for expansion in green urbanization and green spaces to reduce pollution, which has become hazardous to human health, in addition to its negative impact on property wealth.
Waleed Abbas, Assistant of Minister of Housing for the Affairs of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), states that the country seeks building smart and sustainable cities, noting that the volume of buildings in smart cities does not exceed 25% of the total area of those cities, while the remaining area is dedicated to green spaces and parks to reduce thermal emissions.”
Fathallah Fawzy, Chairman of the Construction Committee Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA), notes: “Sustainable green urbanization is a top priority to the government for the current period, in tandem with the preparations for the hosting of COP27. Green urbanization requires incentives to encourage investors to expand in it to meet the increasing demand on eco-friendly buildings and – consequently – achieve sustainability.”
Nader Khozam, Chairman and CEO of IL Cazar Development, maintains: “Currently, there is an increasing demand for constructions that achieve sustainability and save energy, which must be top of the priorities of real estate developers to meet the demands of the market, reduce emissions, and rationalize energy consumption.”
Further, Mohamed Al Taher, CEO of Saudi Egyptian Developers, reiterates: “All competent entities and ministries should join forces to offer incentives for investment in fourth generation cities and green urbanization to achieve sustainable development. They should also raise awareness of the significance of eco-friendly buildings through an official strategy. Sustainability would be realized through devising a plan to adopt modern technology and means of transport, such as electric cars, among others.”
In addition, Sherif Hamouda, CEO of GV Development, affirms: “Sustainability is a serious task, not a luxury, in the light of climate changes that threaten the world now. Egypt should achieve sustainable development and green urbanization, given the major challenges the country is facing including water deficit, which urges it to rationalize consumption of water resources.”
To meet the growing demand for eco-friendly properties, developers are expanding in the adoption of eco-friendly standards in the construction of their projects, including double glass, wall insulation, energy-saving lamps, smart meters, and solar panels, which help keep buildings cooler and more sustainable.
In this regards, Ashraf Boulos, Chairman, and CEO of Cornerstone Development, says: “Egypt can achieve green urbanization through the implementation of insulation in constructions of buildings and properties, along with using eco-friendly bricks which are made of substances that save 20% of energy and heat. Artificial intelligence can also be utilized in the rationalization of water and energy consumption and recycling.”
Mohamed Galal, Managing Director of Misr Real Estate Assets Management, notes: “I commend Egypt’s hosting of COP27 in November 2022. The government succeeded in the introduction of the concept of fourth generation cities to citizens with all sustainability standards, in addition to saving energy consumption, which comes in line with the state’s plan to support a sustainable and green economy. Misr Real Estate Assets Management entered into an agreement with a French company to inspect air in the Down Town district and report on the volume of pollution and emissions and energy level. Based on the result of that inspection, air purifiers will be installed in some buildings.”
Meanwhile, Bedeir Rizk, CEO of PARAGON Developments, comments: “PARAGON adopts a strategy based on the development of eco-friendly and sustainable projects that meet standards of green construction to cut the contribution of the real estate sector in carbon emissions and mitigate the negative effects of climate change, in line with the state’s directives for the achievement of sustainable development.”
Ayman Sami, Country Head of JLL-Egypt, highlights: “The world seeks to achieve the zero-emission goal. A study on the impact of cities on carbon emissions and climate change found that 60% of carbon emissions worldwide are caused by buildings. The state is planning to increase the percentage of household consumption of renewable energy to 42% and cut carbon emissions.”
Hassan Nasr, CEO of Gates Developments, concludes: “Joining forces is necessary for the mitigation of environmental risks, as the implementation of sustainability will cut energy consumption by 37%.”