5 Pillars of Sustainable Real Estate Development

A complete guide for five Pillars of Sustainable Real Estate Development
  • Author: Mohsin Khan
  • Posted On: October 31, 2022
  • Updated On: July 11, 2023

With the sustainability movement on the rise, the way real estate developers build modern communities is changing rapidly. More and more builders are shifting from big box, gas-guzzling homes to higher quality, energy-efficient construction that promotes healthy living.

Sustainable real estate development, however, requires more careful planning, and that planning begins by asking the right questions:

How do we start? What are the core pillars of sustainable real estate development? To answer these questions, the pillars of sustainable real estate development are crucial for every sustainable development project to ensure it lives in harmony with the environment for many generations.

Energy and Water Efficiency

Energy and water efficiency are crucial in developing a sustainable real estate project. One way to conserve both in real estate development is by installing on-site renewable energy generation and water capture systems.

These systems can reduce up to 75% of the project’s total energy consumption and 50% of its water usage. Another way to be more efficient is by using high-performing building envelope materials designed for minimal impact on indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and reduction in VOC emissions.

According to the EPA, A well-insulated home will use less heating and cooling than one that is not insulated. Additionally, improved insulation can help lower utility bills and save money on monthly energy costs. That might be one of your first steps in developing your sustainable real estate venture and avoiding the wastage of resources or an unsustainable project.

Environmental Responsibility

One of the essential pillars of sustainable development is environmental responsibility. That includes reducing waste and pollution, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment.

From building materials to energy sources, sustainable developers are committed to making every effort possible to reduce their impact on the natural world. One way to achieve this is by replacing traditional construction methods with more eco-friendly options.

For example, you can ensure you create rooms that allow more natural light in or use high-quality insulation that reduces energy consumption. When it comes to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, the focus should be on minimizing the use of hazardous substances such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.

If you want to live in a house that minimizes the negative impacts on the planet, then you can buy a house by the river in Tarneit – Australia, a carbon-neutral suburb where you can enjoy cleaner air, water, and green space.

Green Building Materials

Buildings are the single largest energy consumer, accounting for roughly a third of all global energy use, and this number may double by 2050. Luckily, many green building materials are available that reduce the environmental impact of construction and can save you money in the long run.

These include sustainable wood sources like bamboo or cross-laminated timber, which produce fewer emissions than traditional wood sources, recycled building materials like concrete or steel, and recycled plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene.

Of course, it is also essential to pay attention to your site selection when considering these factors; if you build your new office on top of an old toxic landfill, what’s the point?

It’s essential to consider the externalities of choosing a specific location – how much pollution and CO2 the site will create in its lifecycle, etc. That’s because, like with other investments, it’s not always wise to invest in high-risk areas.

Ecological Responsible Designs

Ecological design should always be one of the top considerations in sustainable development. Reducing the negative impact on the environment is not just good for society and future generations but also makes economic sense.

For example, green roofs and walls can help to insulate buildings, reduce surface temperatures and stormwater runoff, absorb CO2 from the air, filter airborne pollutants, and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. They can also help to increase biodiversity in urban environments.

In the future, on-site wastewater treatment systems that reuse grey water are becoming more common. With the rise of home ownership, there’s a need to make sure that every new home has an on-site wastewater treatment system. That will decrease our dependence on costly and outdated sewer systems and keep waste out of our oceans by preventing leakage.

Human Centric Designs

Human-centric design is designing a home or commercial space to fit the needs and lifestyle of the human occupants. That includes appropriate lighting, indoor air quality, and noise control. The goal is for the space to be enjoyable for people as well as sustainable.

For example, natural light increases productivity and reduces energy usage by 10% on average. Friendly building practices can help save money in the long run while also improving occupant health and happiness.


The goal is to create environmentally responsible projects that provide quality living spaces, contribute to the local economy, and are responsive to the needs of future generations.

These pillars form the foundation for sustainable development leading to sustainable transportation, energy conservation, water conservation, and waste management. Each factor is crucial because they work in concert with one another.

One sustainability factor alone cannot solve all environmental problems. However, when developers address the sustainability challenge holistically, the industry will be well on making a difference.

Experienced and conscious property developers are achieving sustainability by taking creativity and a comprehensive approach at every stage of the real estate process, from site selection, design, construction, operations/management, and even demolition.

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Author: Mohsin Khan

Mohsin has worked as one of the experienced editors with ConstructionHow since 2020 with a total span of 5 years of experience in business PR, boasting a remarkable professional trajectory, he has collaborated with entrepreneurs and startups, and certain publications over the last few years. His unwavering interest lies in the construction industry and related materials. He believes in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings, and homes that fall under the right budget. With a wide range of experience in construction, he also tapped into DIY and home improvement projects based on his extensive set of knowledge in the industry.