Ami Kotecha talks decarbonisation strategy with CREtech London

May 26th, 2022

Amro Partners’ Co-Founder and Head of Venture Investments Ami Kotecha joined CREtech London last month for a panel session exploring strategies to decarbonise the built world.

Joined by Richard Hamilton-Grey (Head of Sustainability, Europe & Asia Pacific, Nuveen), Carl Brooks (Head of Sustainability, CBRE), Andres Guzman (Head of ESG, Europe, Tishman Speyer) and panel moderator Sophie Chick (VP, Research & Advisory Service, Urban Land Institute), Ami emphasised the need for the built environment sector to adopt a systems-based approach that will take us beyond net zero to a new regenerative and restorative role.

Embodied carbon is the ‘elephant in the room’ in terms of carbon emissions, with one panellist describing how the decision to retain the existing structure of an office development in London and insist on design teams working around the limitations of that building, saved the carbon equivalent of flying to New York 9,000 times. Single decisions can have a significant impact and while there’s a reluctance to calculate embodied carbon and price it, the built environment sector owes a huge carbon debt to society and retrofitting is the key to repaying it.

Ami explained how Amro’s ambition to achieve NZC2025 means our entire development pipeline conceived since November 2021 is designed to beat 2030 RIBA and RICS targets by 50 – 60%, which can only be achieved by using technology to enable granular thinking and benchmark ourselves continuously against the highest industry standards. Yet panellists highlighted how a lack of global operational benchmarks is a major challenge, as is the difficulty in aggregating asset-level information onto a single platform to signpost specific areas of underperformance and risk that can be managed to improve performance across portfolios.

As well as ensuring our assets are efficient, built environment operators need to be both consumers and producers, with the capacity to give back to the grid, be good neighbours and contribute positively to the circular economy. Recognising that buildings are effectively material banks with an innate value, the implementation of digital building passports is one way to ensure that when an asset reaches the end of its life, it is deconstructed with materials reused or recycled.

There’s no one ‘silver bullet’, but rather the answer lies in a basket of solutions. That’s why collaboration is key and the sharing of failures is as important as sharing successes.

To hear the full discussion please click here.