Green building initiatives are helping to drive the transition towards energy efficiency
In the wake of 2015’s landmark signing of the Paris Agreement, governments around the world have firmly put tackling climate change on the global political agenda. As leaders examine how best to curb international greenhouse gas emissions, individuals are also making changes in their personal lives to reduce their carbon footprint. In an effort to live a more environmentally friendly existence, we are choosing showers over baths, cycling to work, and even cutting down on our red meat consumption. Yet, while these everyday decisions are certainly important in reducing our impact on the planet, they fail to fully address the most overlooked source of pollution in our lives: our homes.
Incredibly, buildings are responsible for more than 40 percent of global energy use and around a third of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, the global population will be close to 10 billion, resulting in an unavoidable mass construction of new homes. A surge in new-builds, rapid urbanisation and large-scale migration to cities could see global energy demand rise by at least 50 percent. Such a growth in demand for fossil fuel energy would see the planet far exceed its Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increases to ‘well below’ two degrees celsius. Unless our buildings can be made more energy-efficient, the worst-case scenarios of climate change may prove impossible to avoid.
Eco-innovation to the rescue
Fortunately, new technologies are fast allowing families to reduce energy demand through the integration of renewables in their homes. According to the International Energy Agency, by 2050 the building sector could save the equivalent of the current energy use of Russia and India combined through the employment of new sustainable technologies. From the latest solar panels to energy-efficient appliances and high-performance windows, the homes of the future must aim to be energy-neutral.
While in the past high installation costs have kept families away from investing in home renewables, such technologies are now becoming more affordable and accessible for environmentally conscious consumers. In October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a pioneering line of solar roof panels, providing an attractive way to add renewable energy to homes. The eco-friendly roof tiles eliminate the need for traditional solar panels and instead ingrate the technology directly into the build of the house. Although the price of the tiles is yet to be officially revealed, Musk has confirmed his solar roof will be cheaper than installing regular solar panels on a conventional roof. Meanwhile, regulation energy labels in the US and Europe make it easy for shoppers to choose energy-efficient white goods, while eco-friendly LED bulbs have all but pushed their ineffective CFL predecessors from the shelves.
Reducing our at-home carbon footprint is, therefore, easier and cheaper than ever before. However, in order to achieve the climate change goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, an estimated 77 percent reduction in CO2 emissions in the building sector will be necessary by 2050. To expect to reach this target through individual home improvement projects is simply unrealistic. If we are to ever achieve our ambitious climate change targets, a new urban planning agenda is required.
In July, the World Green Building Council (WGBC) launched its ‘Advancing Net Zero’ project, which aims to ensure all new buildings across the globe are net zero rated for emissions by 2030. By working closely with member councils, the WGBC hopes to promote the creation of sustainable homes and green buildings for an ever-increasing number of city dwellers. In line with the WGBC’s mission, the city of Vancouver recently adopted a zero emissions building plan, while San Diego’s mayor has committed his city to getting 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. As pressure mounts on global cities to adopt sustainable initiatives, a number of pioneering green township projects have begun to emerge.
Lisi Green Town is one of the world’s finest examples of sustainable property development. The 400-hectare complex is the flagship project from Lisi Development – Georgia’s very first green property development company. Located on the shores of Lisi Lake, not far from the bustling capital city of Tbilisi, the residential project combines energy-efficient housing with refined architectural style. With the first phase of construction completed in the autumn of 2015, the development now boasts over 170 apartments, 16 townhouses and two villas, along with a variety of quality sports facilities and lush green spaces. This distinctive greenery is perhaps the project’s defining feature, with 80 percent of the territory entirely dedicated to green areas and necessary infrastructure.
“Our 80/20 concept really gives us an edge on our competitors”, said Nodar Adeishvili, General Director of Lisi Development. “Lisi Development is the only company that uses only 20 percent of its territory for buildings, while using the remaining 80 percent for green zones. This concept really creates a special living atmosphere here at Lisi Green Town.”
Lisi Green Town is one of the world’s finest examples of sustainable property development
Since work first began on the development, the Lisi lakefront has been completely transformed. Thousands of plants and trees have been planted across the land, turning the area from arid and uninhabited to vibrant and thriving.
“Just five years ago, Lisi Lake was perceived as one of the last choices for prospective residents, as there were no suitable or attractive living districts”, Adeishvili explained. “Now, with the creation of an ecologically clean environment, we are proud to say that Lisi Green Town is one of the most sought-after places to live in Georgia.”
In addition to Lisi’s commitment to green public spaces, the developer also aims to promote sustainability inside the homes it builds. At every stage of the construction process, building materials are chosen for their energy-saving qualities, complementing the natural materials that are consciously incorporated into the build. Furthermore, all of Lisi’s buildings are designed to be as energy efficient as possible, enabling residents to reduce their annual utility bills by over 30 percent. In order to promote ecological awareness among its citizens, Lisi Development has become the first company in Georgia to implement a waste sorting system. What’s more, residents are encouraged to separate their discarded items into recyclable categories and then dispose of them responsibly in the special waste containers dotted around the complex.
“With this new initiative, we wanted to lead by example”, said Adeishvili. “Our waste sorting system shows how citizens themselves can play a vital role in taking care of the environment, no matter how big or small their contribution.”
This pioneering initiative is, in many ways, reflective of the ecologically friendly, engaged community the developer hopes to foster in Lisi Green Town. Since its inception, the aim for the project has been to establish a new, healthy way of living for residents. By combining eco-innovation with a safe, clean living environment, Lisi Green Town has successfully created a sustainable community, the likes of which simply couldn’t exist in a conventional city centre. Here, families are not just prompted to recycle their rubbish and reduce their energy demand, but are also encouraged to let their children play outside alone, reassured by the secure surroundings.
“Our community brings together families who strive for a different lifestyle from what’s possible in the central districts of the city”, said Adeishvili. “In Lisi Green Town, residents get to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy state-of-the-art architecture.”
With a blossoming community of over 200 permanent residents and a growing portfolio of businesses, the award-winning development has become one of the country’s most desirable locations to live and work. As consumer demand grows for eco-friendly homes in Georgia and beyond, Lisi Development is optimistic about the future of the sustainable property market.
“All over the world, we are seeing a surge in green building initiatives”, Adeishvili said. “At Lisi Development, we look forward to meeting this growing trend by incorporating new green technologies and concepts. Over the coming years, we will ensure that Lisi Green Town remains the best place for residents to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle.”