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What is Sustainable Real Estate? A Comprehensive Definition

Housing is a very important aspect of every human’s life. We spend the majority of our time inside our home, even more due to the current pandemic which gives the opportunity to work from there. 

But for many people this does not only come with benefits, small rooms and apartments do not allow for efficient working conditions. An even more important issue is that a large number of people do not even have a safe place to live in.

In order to address these issues and many more, sustainable real estate and sustainable cities have to be implemented. Even the UN has described this problem in their sustainable development goals.

What is Sustainable Real Estate?

Sustainable real estate has the goal of creating buildings that meet current needs without compromising the future generation’s needs in terms of the environment, society and economy.

Green Building with a tree

What are the SDGs and SDG 11?

SDG stands for “Sustainable Development Goals” and was created by the United Nations starting in 2012. They contain 17 specific goals that are set in the Agenda 2030 such as: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, … and many more.

For the real estate industry, the SDGs  7, 11, 12 and 13 are very important. SDG 7 is about “Affordable and Clean Energy” and has the aim to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

SDG 11 is called “Sustainable Cities and Communities”. It aims to create safe and affordable housing, affordable and sustainable transportation, inclusive and sustainable urbanization, as well as many more goals related to the environment, society and economy.

SDG 12 is aiming to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. It is named “responsible consumption and production” and has the sub-goals of sustainable and responsible management of resources and waste.

Last, another SDG that is important for sustainable real estate is SDG 13, which is called “Climate Action”. It aims to implement climate rules and policies into governments and public organizations as soon as possible in order to fight the climate crisis.

After briefly outlining the SDGs that are important for sustainable real estate, we can now get more specific on how to actually implement these. In order to make housing use clean and affordable energy, policies need to be in place by local governments and cities that incentive the usage. In addition, real estate needs to be prepared to install renewable energy devices such as PV systems and general infrastructure. 

Moreover, resources have to be sourced carefully and a focus has to be set on renewable materials and those that use less energy to be produced. This can include recycled wood or steel, bamboo, or other plant based materials.

Smart cities can bring many advantages to each of the mentioned SDGs, IoT technology can make buildings safer, more efficient and sustainable. If you want to learn more about smart city technologies, take a look at our article.  


Sustainable real estate is aiming to create a better environment, society and economy. In order to do so, the 17 SDGs by the United Nations can give us a general guideline to follow. Even though some solutions still rely on actions taken by governments and public organizations, there are a variety of possibilities for real estate companies. This can be the sustainable usage of resources, adoption to clean energy and implementation of innovative technologies.

If you want to learn more about smart cities and sustainable real estate, feel free to take a look at our other blog articles.

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