First working week of the year and my LinkedIn feed is filled with articles on 2020 trends and resolutions. They all make for a great read – special mention to Nikki Greenberg's, Paul McCorquodale's and Will Darbyshire's ones which gave me the inspiration to write this piece.While the industry acknowledge the urgency of tackling climate change and the role PropTech has in addressing it, the greatest impact we can collectively have is when mass adoption of sustainability technology happens in the property sector.
Last Tuesday (the 26th of Nov 2019), I was invited to be part of the panel on ‘Leveraging ProptTech to get to Net Zero’ at the first Women In PropTech (WiPT) London event alongside fearless leaders in the space Sally Jones, Julie Hogarth, Alison Webb and beautifully moderated by Sarah Ratcliff.
You would be forgiven for expecting this to be a post from the CEO / founder of the business in which s/he shares insights about the challenging journey of building a business and how it, almost never, resembled what they expected… (here's what Ben had to say about it last year). Or possibly a blog about how no amount of MBA entrepreneurship courses one might take, how many books or blogs one might read, how many founder entrepreneurs one might know closely, invariably, the reality always turns out differently to the imaginary.
It is a particularly lovely, sunny day to be inside, staring at computer screens. Of course, it could be none other than for PyData that we do this. PyData London is an annual event for beginners, experts and industry professionals alike, where we all convene to listen and learn about the latest developments on the data science frontier.
Let me just put this on record: Proptech is an exciting space. I’m saying this as someone who’s spent the past 10+ years in it, hence longer than the term proptech itself has been in existence. Previously largely used to refer to online agencies, proptech today apparently encompasses some 7,000 startups (according to CBRE’s Thomas Herr) and goes well beyond making real estate transactions more efficient.
Two weeks ago, it was UCL Sustainability Week! To quote UCL’s website: “Sustainability week is a celebration of all the fantastic sustainability initiatives taking place at UCL.” Fabriq’s task force - Tom Wilson and I - joined the party!
Photo by Mack Male, CC BY-SAWe’ve all heard the horror stories about some of the highest rated LEED and BREEAM buildings being some of the worst culprits in terms of actual, operational energy and resource consumption (measured typically in kWh / m2, and several other metrics, provided there is enough data available). When the designers of such buildings are asked why their models differ so dramatically from reality, the answer is almost always the same: the building isn’t used in the way it was designed for.When asked to explain what that actually means, feedback tends to differ. Sometimes it’s a specific (new / sensitive / not properly commissioned etc.) piece of equipment that doesn’t work as expected. In other cases, the building is used by multiple tenants vs. a single one, other times twice as many people have been crammed into the space etc – but in general terms it all comes down to one stakeholder group: the occupants!
Launched in May 2009 by Forum for the Future, the West of England Carbon Challenge (WECC) brought public and private organisations from across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire together in a collective commitment to reduce their carbon emissions by 2.5% year-on-year, targeting a total reduction of 10% by 2012/13.In this time the network has grown from 10 founders to over 130 members, including the likes of BBC, Environment Agency, Triodos Bank, Yeo Valley and Wessex Water. While WECC fell a bit short of the overall group target, there have been notable successes with over 50% of members showing reductions in emissions and several showing drops of over 20%.