What's in store for proptech and sustainability?
Steven Hiltermann, General Manager, UK at Badi
The issue of climate change is one that’s been on most people’s agenda around the world for a while now. While it’s encouraging to see awareness days like last month’s 50th anniversary of Earth Day being celebrated, living sustainably needs to be front of mind every day, if we want to take back control and look after our planet.
Government and corporate bodies in particular are under pressure to ensure our workplaces are keeping up with sustainable solutions. An example of this is cycling: the increase in people commuting to work via bikes over the past ten years has seen shifts made in public policy and public investment into cycle lanes all over Europe. However, many workplaces have been scrutinised for not keeping up with this pace by lacking cycling schemes and therefore finding employees feeling discouraged to cycle to work.
Making room for bicycles is something companies should be able to address quickly and easily – just as landlords and renters should be able to make adjustments to how sustainably they are living, which is set to be a huge focus in the proptech sector over the next decade.
From an individual perspective, there’s a number of small changes we can make on a day-to-day basis to drive sustainable living – whether that’s ethical homeware consumerism, recycling in the home, switching to renewable energy providers and many more.
Traditionally it’s been more difficult for renters to be able to impact the sustainability of the space they live in as tariffs and providers are decided often by landlords, but slowly technology is helping us all make a contribution to a more sustainable future when it comes to our living space.
Across every sector technology has a key role to play in sustainability and we’re increasingly seeing digital initiatives encouraging people to move away from physical and wasteful alternatives. For instance, one of the benefits we’ve always found of using machine learning and algorithms is that people can get to know who they are living with and details of the location and property, without having to make numerous trips to and from their future home – in turn, reducing their carbon footprint.
Other great tech-driven initiatives that are continuing to develop include ideas like virtual reality property viewings, meaning you can view a number of properties with a 360 degree view and avoid travelling to each and every one of them. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, these virtual viewings have become vital and will surely shape the future of how we list and rent rooms.
From an industry perspective, there’s a number of ways we can utilise technology to make the property sector a far more sustainable one. Blockchain has been called out on numerous occasions as a great way to revolutionise rental property payments by removing middlemen and reducing transaction costs. Additionally, the introduction of smart contracts into the property world reduces the need for physical documentation and paper usage across the industry.
One leading trend that will continue to dominate the prop-tech sector when it comes to sustainability is the Sharing Economy – stemming from the economic philosophy that space and capital goods are better shared. Airbnb is one of the best examples of the Sharing Economy used effectively and we have seen first-hand at Badi how much of an impact co-living, renting and sharing your spaces and resources can have both environmentally and financially.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be sitting at the intersection of property and technology and we’re very excited how the merging of those two sectors will continue to drive sustainable living.