Real Estate Development in the Cayman Islands is the most Sustainable in the World

Green buildings drive Cayman real estate to become more sustainable

While location, design and function are still rank high on the list when investing in luxury real estate, an increasing number of buyers are now looking for more amenities that promote health and wellbeing, as well as environmental stewardship.

Along with private pools, wellness spas, bespoke interiors, and concierge services, today’s real estate investors are also looking closely at more environmental-friendly features such as energy and water efficiency, use of natural light, quality of indoor air, use of non-toxic materials, and sustainability of site development — making the green building industry of one of the fastest growing markets worldwide.

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What are green buildings?

The World Green Building Council defines green buildings as structures whose “design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates native impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.” Simply put, they are buildings that improve quality of life while preserving precious natural resources.

Green buildings are meant to be showcases of sustainability in all the phases of their existence, adopting environmentally responsible and resource-efficient practices that encompass their entire life-cycle — from choosing the site to design and architecture, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, down to its eventual disassembly and material salvage.

According to WorldGBC, the features of a green building must include:

  • Efficient use of energy, water and other resources
  • Use of renewable energy, such as solar energy
  • Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
  • Good indoor environmental air quality
  • Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable
  • Consideration of the environment in design, construction and operation
  • Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction and operation
  • A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment

These key features can be contextualized and adapted to the unique climates, cultures and traditions of different countries and regions, as well as to the distinctive ecological, economic, and social concerns that influence their approach towards building sustainably.

Investing in green homes

There is a prevailing notion that integrating sustainable technology can significantly drive up the cost of real estate development projects. However, studies reveal otherwise.

Research has shown that there is no significant difference in cost between buildings that incorporate green features as compared to buildings that do not. With the advancement and popularity of green technology solutions, more sustainable buildings are being constructed with budgets that are well within the range of conventional buildings under the same category.

Moreover, because they are more energy efficient, green buildings will eventually pay back over time like a good investment — especially when sustainable technologies are integrated at the planning stage rather than inserted later on as a remedial effort.

When properly designed, constructed and operated, green buildings can promote a more positive impact on human and environmental health by efficiently using energy, water, and other natural resources, improving the health and wellbeing of the building’s occupants, and reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

It is not surprising that among residential buyers, “green homes” are currently in great demand worldwide despite carrying higher price tag than their conventional counterparts. It has been reported that the added premium of living in a green development can drive prices up by 10 – 20 percent, yet many find this a small price to pay for its long-term benefits to the environment, the economy, and society in general.

In fact, it has become increasingly common for LEED-certified property developments to proudly brandish their rating and accreditation as a marketing highlight, drawing the attention of more discriminating investors in luxury real estate.

Cayman takes the LEED

Last year, a survey on global green building leaders revealed that the Cayman Islands was the top country in the world with LEED-certified buildings per 100,000 population — a testimony to the country’s rapidly growing green building movement and the impressive number of Cayman-based designers, builders, and consultants providing green services throughout the Caribbean region.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is perhaps the most highly coveted symbol of excellence in sustainability achievement and leadership in the world. The LEED rating system is used for all types of structures and provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving green buildings.

When buying residential real estate, investing in a LEED-certified property is definitely a bonus because it guarantees that the development has passed the necessary prerequisites for energy efficiency and cost-saving features, lower carbon emissions, use of sustainable materials, proper waste management, and other amenities that improve indoor environmental quality and create healthier spaces for people.

Among the more popular features that can be found in modern green residences are solar panels, extra insulation, low-flow plumbing, high-efficiency cooling systems, electric car charging stations, rainwater harvesting and waste water recycling, low-energy appliances, and the use of sustainable materials made from recycled components, to name a few.

As energy expert Sarah Broomfield explains: “Sustainability is at the forefront of many peoples’ minds nowadays, so living or working in a city that has an abundance of green buildings can be a big selling point.”

“Green buildings follow a range of sustainable regulations to ensure their footprint is reduced, but making your own home more energy efficient is also key to being sustainable.”

If you want to know more about LEED-certified residences and other eco-friendly properties in the Cayman Islands, ERA’s team of professional real estate agents will be more than happy to assist you!

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Blair Rota

I have had the pleasure of working with Kristina King on a few real estate projects. She is extremely knowledgeable on the local market and always has a game plan. Very efficient and always looks out for my best interests-a very strong negotiator. I ‘am glad to have her on my side and would strongly recommend you call Kristina first!

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