Green Climate

Climate change is the defining issue of our future, and already the greening of agriculture, energy and transportation -- transforming the sectors so they become more sustainable in the face of environmental challenges -- is at the forefront of new policies and investments.

But we also need to look at how and where we live. The building, construction and renovation sectors, which make up the backbone of residential and commercial housing, contribute almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In every crisis, however, there are opportunities. Efficient and environmentally friendly green buildings are one such opportunity -- and a massive one at that.


In emerging markets alone, by 2030 green buildings will offer up to $24.7 trillion in investment opportunities. Much of this growth will occur in east Asia Pacific and South Asia, where more than half of the world's urban population will live within a decade. In a recent report, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, estimated that by 2030, residential and commercial green buildings will represent a $17.8 trillion investment opportunity in Asia alone.

It will be an engine of job growth, generating upward of nine million new skilled jobs in the next 10 years alone, focused on emerging markets like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere in the region. We estimate that new home construction alone will require more than $10 trillion in new investments.

Today, green buildings represent just 8% of the building and renovation market. By 2060, the global building stock will need to double in area -- much of it centered in east Asia Pacific and South Asia. Not only are green buildings an environmental necessity for a changing planet, they also offer a host of attractive returns for investors.

Take costs. Green buildings have far lower operational costs than traditional buildings -- up to 37% lower. They consume less water and energy than traditional buildings. Green buildings maintain higher occupancy rates -- up to 23% higher -- and command larger sale premiums -- up to 31% higher. Tenants and homeowners enjoy far lower utility costs -- 20%-40% lower -- than their counterparts in standard buildings.

As the world moves to a carbon-neutral future, traditional buildings risk becoming stranded assets. The future in building is clearly green, and Asia, the region with the most new construction, is pivotal. What it chooses to build today will have an enormous impact on what our world will look like tomorrow.