Green buildings: fad or true driver of change


Green buildings: fad or true driver of change



Environmental performance has become imperative – in real estate like in all other industries. In the face of the climate emergency, green buildings – also known as green construction, sustainable buildings or eco-friendly buildings – are now seen as preconditions for a future on a healthy planet. These buildings, which minimise their environmental impact while providing safe & pleasant conditions to their occupants, appear to be an effective response to our industry’s current challenges. But can buildings truly be green and deliver on their promise of sustainability?

What’s a green building?

A green building remains sustainable long after its inauguration. Beyond the construction phase, it minimises the impacts of its day-to-day use by occupants, as well as its eventual demolition or re-use. Throughout its lifecycle, it relies on eco-friendly materials, optimises its energy efficiency and guarantees users’ comfort. This holistic approach ensures the building’s continued environmental performance during its operation and down to its end of life, providing a global response to the challenges of sustainable development.

  1. The resources used by a building include energy, water and materials. “Greening” a building can mean installing a solar farm, reusing rainwater and choosing biosourced, recycled or even reused materials.
  2. The indoor environment must ensure occupants’ comfort through effective ventilation, quality air filtration and appropriate lighting.
  3. A green building should also blend into its surroundings, taking into account the site’s existing biodiversity to protect and develop it.

Trends and innovation in sustainable construction

Energy-positive buildings

Energy-positive buildings are a major step forward in sustainable construction. These buildings are designed to produce more energy than they consume, thanks to technologies such as photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources. By minimising needs and generating energy on site, these buildings help promote a more efficient use of energy resources.


Integrating biodiversity into construction projects has become a necessity. Green buildings are well integrated into their environment and respect the biodiversity that surrounds them. Rather than a regulatory constraint, we see this as an opportunity. To address biodiversity from the outset, our environmental engineer will examine the site and make recommendations to protect and develop the existing biodiversity. For example, layered landscaping projects can be designed to combine aesthetic appeal with ecological benefits.

Waste reduction

Waste management is a fundamental part of sustainable construction. Modern construction and renovation techniques seek to minimise the waste generated and maximise the re-use and recycling of materials. This includes the use of modular construction techniques, waste sorting on building sites and the incorporation of recycled or reused materials. Besides reducing the projects’ environmental impact, these practices contribute to a more robust and sustainable circular economy.

Certificates and labels

Buildings account for almost 43% of global greenhouse gas emissions: they are a key contributor to climate change. Environmental labels and certificates are some of the tools that help address this critical issue. Certificates – such as BREEAM, HQE and LEED – are a quality-control procedures that usually cover multiple environmental issues. This voluntary approach on the part of the investor goes beyond regulatory requirements. 

Labels, on the other hand, focus on one or two specific points of environmental performance and can be used to complement certificates. They include Biodivercity, Zero Carbon, Osmoz Well, and others. 

There are many French and international sustainability certificates and labels, suited to various needs, including:

Green buildings are not just fashionable. They are a precondition for a viable future on our planet for all that inhabit it. By adopting sustainable construction practices, we can reduce our carbon footprint and create healthy living environments. A green building strikes a balance between the financial, social and environmental aspects of the construction and real estate operation.