Innovation nation

The level of innovation within the property industry is truly amazing.

Wherever you go around the country you find new projects featuring cutting-edge sustainable design, owners with a forensic focus on the energy performance of existing assets, and an industry that is embracing concepts of wellness, flexibility and community.

The results are there for all to see. And it's amazing the pace of the change. Today's leading workplaces, retail destinations, visitor accommodation, industrial parks and homes are a quantum step beyond those of even a decade ago.

The country will need all this innovation and more to meet the commitment to effectively decarbonise the economy towards the end of the century as Australia committed to in Paris.

Our particular challenge is to get greener while still growing – growing our population and growing our collective prosperity.

Recent new data provides cause for hope and demonstrates the potential for the property industry to play a significant role in tackling Australia's climate change challenge.

Analysis by ClimateWorks in the Low Carbon, High Performance report undertaken for the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (which includes the Property Council) delivers a striking finding. Emissions from commercial property actually fell 2 per cent over the last decade, despite the big growth in the stock of real estate over this period.

That's right – more growth, fewer emissions.

This decoupling of growth and carbon emissions is the holy grail of climate change policy makers. It's why energy efficiency is the underdog policy option that deserves a second look. Imagine what could be done with stronger incentives for action?

This is exactly the focus of a new paper launched by the Property Council last week in NSW, Five Good Ideas for a Sustainable Future.  It demonstrates ways that our industry is building communities that are not just smart economically, but environmentally as well.

Now that is a good idea.