Modular Construction delivering Greener portfolios

Can modular construction deliver Sustainable residential portfolios for investors?

We continuously hear about a Housing Crisis in the UK. With Research by Propertymark showing a reduction in the number of Private rental properties available on the market between 2019 and 2022and house prices on an upward curve, access to living accommodation is tighter than it has ever been. Indeed, in a survey undertaken by Knight Frank they concluded that investors will deploy over £75bn of capital into the residential sector over the next 5 years. 

Government policies and commitments reflect the needs of a Net Zero future, we believe that Modular Construction has a significant role to play in delivering sustainable portfolios for the institutional investors.

Earlier in the year, research by the University of Cambridge and Edinburgh Napier University relating to two modular residential developments, highlighted a 45% reduction in embedded carbon. This was a moment of reckoning for the construction industry. Stelling Properties has also conducted independent research on the embedded carbon on a recent project, the findings demonstrated in excess of 11% reduction in embedded carbon on the project with a Pre-manufactured Value (PMV) of just under 50% of total project cost. Stelling Properties R&D is heavily focused on delivering up to 85% PMV in the next 12 months, which will not only reduce the time on site but also unlock ever greater carbon savings.

There is an ever-increasing body of independent credible evidence that Modular Construction can significantly reduce the embedded carbon impact.

Embedded Carbon is only one of the carbon considerations, Modular construction with its superior build quality offers the opportunity to significantly reduce operational carbon by delivering more efficient properties. The energy used by the occupant can be reduced by as much as 20 – 25%, which in the current climate has an additional economic benefit.

A client of Stelling Properties currently operates a mixed portfolio of traditional and modular constructed properties, on a like for like basis the modular constructed properties are currently using 12% less energy compared to the traditional construction properties.

Furthermore, end of life carbon for a modular development is substantially reduced as modules and its materials can be demounted, recycled or repurposed. Overall the full life cycle footprint demonstrates clear ESG benefits to adopt modern methods of construction (MMC).

Both the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) deliver increased requirements for Financial Disclosure Agreements to include carbon intensity and climate risk. The opportunity that MMC offers to institutional investors is a proven innovative housebuilding approach that will deliver low carbon, low operational cost, sustainable homes. Volumetric modular, with the highest pre-manufactured value of construction, allows investors to deliver high quality low carbon homes and ensures that their asset portfolios can indeed deliver their long term “green” objectives.

Antonio Lopez

Director of Building Operations and New Opportunities

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