An expat move, a sustainable move

Residential properties are making a move towards sustainability due to its numerous benefits, including a reduction of costs, improved health and a better quality of life, amid a climate crisis. One of the planet’s top polluters is the construction industry, emitting 36% of final energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2018. The statistics were highlighted by the Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. How will sustainability help your finances prosper?

“A sustainable building industry will balance environmental, social and economic issues to ensure a viable and valuable industry for future generations. The building industry includes developing, planning, designing, building, altering, or maintaining the built environment.” – Government of Western Australia

In planning sustainably, property developers think about how the constructed facilities will be of aid to the environment and the residents. This idea is based on six principles pointed out by Professor Charles J. Kibert: “conserve, reuse, recycle/renew, protect nature, create non-toxic and high quality.” Construction tends to give out the idea that it cannot work with natural resources, due to the impact it has on the environment. However, sustainable construction is more about the design and planning of the facility. “This is the way property firms must act at a time when the world is facing the impacts of climate change and the coronavirus outbreak.” – Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of the real estate services firm JLL Thailand.

This would lead to a cleaner Earth and a future of sustainability by minimising the carbon footprint of the buildings. Bamboo, recycled plastic and laminated timber are all materials that would fit the cause. In addition, it is important to make use of renewable and sustainable efforts such as reducing waste, recycling and conserving energy. Moreover, people should encourage property developers to opt for green buildings and selecting sustainable and recycled materials. According to Big Rentz, sustainable construction will give out a healthier living, conveying that seasonal affective disorder was reduced and as well as improving happiness – with Akron’s Children’s Hospital patients 56% more satisfied.

LPN has been approaching this phenomenon using 3Ps: Profit, People and Planet for sustainable development. The firm pointed out that in contrast to what many believe, the costs paid upfront will be offset in later reductions. By focusing on project planning and resource management, the overall production will not only be benefitting financially, but also gives out a healthier living. Opas continued to say, “Our sustainable residential development over three decades has succeeded in providing sustainable and quality living at affordable prices for more than 180,000 families in Bangkok, its suburbs and other provinces. This is because we want to see all Thai people being able to have their own quality residence at an affordable price. Currently, investors and homeowners in the affordable segment are focusing on wellness lifestyles and wellness communities, ensuring the long-term availability of safe, decent and affordable housing that supports the health of the occupants.” The long-term plan to develop sustainable residential projects at affordable prices has been going on for a while in Asia and has also been deemed growing during the pandemic. Sustainable business grew from 3 billion baht in revenue in 2006 to 16 billion baht in 2015. Opas confirmed that none of the staff members were let go in 2020 despite having to “revise our total revenue and net profit due to the economic downturn.”

Moving countries is always a big step. Expats have started to prefer sustainable housing options and a way of life. As a result, several countries have already started adopting a more renewable way of construction, boosting the expat opportunities. German network InterNations’ published report, the Expat Sustainable Living Index 2020, conveyed that the European countries are in the lead for Environment & Sustainability Ranking. Finland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Switzerland ranked in the top five. Moreover, the only non-European destinations to make it into the global top 10 were New Zealand and Canada, placing at 7th and 9th respectively. 96% of the participating expats said that they are happy with the country’s natural environment. Furthermore, Oman was the highest-ranking among the Middle Eastern countries featured in the survey, ranking in the 21st place. Housing sustainability in the Netherlands was boosted three years ago, when members of the Groene Mient association in The Hague developed a project to create an energy neutral residential district. What makes the area eco-friendly is that it produces as much energy as they use for their heating and hot water, therefore, saving costs on a yearly basis.

As much as it is a big step, moving abroad will also offer numerous opportunities to become more environmentally friendly. Apart from looking for sustainably built home, the environment will also be helped if greener modes of transportation are used. Cycling, walking and the use of public transport is always good for the environment, but if one prefers a smaller vehicle, carpooling is always an option. In addition, different countries may have a different way of handling waste – so it is critical to check on the country’s waste management system. This may also be an opportunity to take up new habits, such as carrying reusable bags, making use of a reusable mug and taking shorter hot showers. These little things will not only leave an impact on your finances, as you will be saving a good sum annually, but also will help preserve the environment, tackling the current climate crisis.

Change is good – it offers you a new way of life and mindset. Home may make it more challenging to pick up new trends and adopting a new lifestyle, but an expat life will make a difference. It is truly a remarkable idea to move countries, settle in and grow whilst being environmentally cautious. It becomes a move to a new location, but also a sustainable move.

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