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No doubt infuriatingly,  let me tell you the ending of the movie just as you’ve started to watch and propose one possible answer to my own question right at the beginning.

The simple answer is that Green buildings in Asia will only happen if policy-makers take the lead and governments establish clear targets, incentives, and regulatory frameworks for both existing stock and new buildings.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to gain a degree of in-depth knowledge of the Real Estate sector, the players, their roles, and (more importantly) their motivations.

More recently, a new USP (unique selling point) positioning has emerged around green and sustainability? which is moderately encouraging. Amongst the 50,000 or so property developers in mainland China, there are now growing numbers of players providing leadership on how to build, operate and maintain buildings in a more sustainable fashion.

These leaders are still by far in the minority but they are setting the standards for the whole industry, creating peer pressure for the wider community.

Industry leaders like Maersk, who are re-thinking ship design for better fuel efficiency and advocating a different fuel mix for port areas, in particular the Pearl River Delta, are pushing the change.

The big picture management factors in things outside the immediate costs of running the facility is the way forward for those ports keen to be seen as improving, rather than just hanging on in there.

I have a number of ongoing and controversial conversations with people in Europe (UK and Germany), China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and ANZ around where the Green Building trend really is right now, and

I have yet to be convinced that the Green Buildings Service and Product industry is really taking off.

To me, this will only happen if governments set clear energy efficiency, water, and carbon footprint targets for the existing buildings in their cities. But this alone is not enough; they also need to lead the way and engage every player in the industry, whether it’s the developer who will have to install energy-saving equipment over the (cheaper) standard kit, or the cleaner who needs to be educated on how to consume less water and switch lights on and off. Governments will also need to work with large real estate owners and developers on achievable business plans for the refurbishment and improvement of their existing stock. These efforts will require access to appropriate finance and access to affordable funding sources to meet the capital expenditure needed.

This approach would certainly help with the initial upgrading, and as far as the operating of these revamped buildings is concerned, there are many contractual concepts? both old and new? on how to share savings, identify areas for further improvements, or encourage greater innovation. What is important, however, is that a model close to the one outlined in the RISC Code of Practice Service Charges should be implemented.  This would ensure the necessary transparency ? not to control the actions of developers or property managers? but to identify (and more importantly monitor) the variable consumables needed for running a building.