"Nothing ventured, nothing gained!" – Carbon negative living with Noli Studios

Monday, October 26, 2020

NNoli Studios is a living concept created by NREP, a Nordic real estate product innovator, developer, investor and operator that seeks to make real estate better. Their concept promises high-quality flexible living services in great urban locations. They believe that modern serviced living should be both sustainable, user-centric and operationally efficient: community, shared experiences, spaces and resources are at the heart of Noli Studios.

Noli Studios, why is taking care of the climate and the environment important to your business?

Impact is intentional and inherent to the core of what we are about. Our customers are modern urbanites looking for new ways of living and travelling. Reducing the environmental impact of our lives, taking action as individuals and as a community to slow down and even reverse climate change, is very important not just to our customers but also to our team and NREP as a company. We take the challenge ahead very seriously, and have environmental issues on our minds daily when planning operations and developing our product and services. We believe that ‘making real estate better’ is a massive opportunity to enrich people’s lives and contribute to a more sustainable world.  

Apart from compensating, tell us about how Noli and NREP take climate and sustainability into account.

We always keep in mind that sustainable development is not just about energy efficiency, but needs to positively address ecological, economical, social and cultural aspects.

To immediately reduce the ecological impact of our projects, from 2020 onwards all new Noli Studios projects will be independently verified and environmentally certified to LEED Gold rating or better. We will also certify all our existing projects. However, we don’t do environmental certifications just for the sake of certification. Instead, we see certification schemes as quality catalogues that can support progressive design and impact. They can enable more effective communication with contractors, partners, municipalities, investors and other stakeholders who we want to work with to further the sustainability agenda. 

In some areas district heating is not yet green, but there are things that can be done before it is, for example by using highly efficient electric-based HVAC and heat-pump systems. Going beyond mere energy efficiency, we are looking to deploy onsite solar or geothermal renewable energy production. 

NREP as a whole has adopted the decarbonization pathways of the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM), which provides tangible target levels for the energy use and emission reductions of property types across sectors and geographies. We are active in the public discussion on social and environmental topics, and seek to influence the direction of the broader industry. We contribute to the work of local green building councils, municipal regulatory development and legislative consultations. We also present on sustainability at various industry conferences and provide training to service providers and other industry bodies. 

As one milestone, in 2019 NREP completed two flagship projects: Upcycle Studios and Resource Rows in Denmark. Upcycle Studios is the first circular commercial scale residential development in the world. On social impact, in 2019 NREP also completed or had 5674 residential units under construction dedicated to student housing, community-based living, mixed generation communities, senior housing, care homes or rental apartments catering to people at or below median income. Culturally and socially Noli Studios addresses the current challenges in growing major cities: loneliness and longing for community, flexibility of stay and affordability in central locations.

 

Why did you choose Compensate as your offsetting partner?

There’s true integrity in being a nonprofit foundation offering crucial services for individual consumers and bigger organizations. We see this selected operating model as key in getting an independent scientific advisory panel to guide Compensate in developing its ambitious compensation project criteria, that are significantly tighter than the global standards. Compensate also tackles the uncertainties of compensation projects with substantial overcompensation factors to ensure the carbon offset targets are met. We also appreciate that the Foundation has also been active in the dialogue with public authorities and at the forefront of changing the related legislation in Finland.

 

What have you learned from all the work that you have done so far?

The last few years have been a steep learning curve. The scope and scale of possible actions is huge, and it’s important to understand that high-level policy definitions (for let’s say, the real estate sector) and on the other hand, the small environmental choices we all make everyday, are equally as important. The key is that everything is connected, and partial optimization is not just unproductive, but can even be harmful to reaching the common goal of positive environmental impact. The laggard real estate industry has largely been stuck with a short-term, narrow view of value creation. We act on the opportunity to take a long-term holistic approach that reconceives customer needs, product solutions and stakeholder collaboration to create more economic value alongside more value for society.

 

What would you say to others who know they want to take climate action, but maybe haven't done so yet?

In the Nordics you often hear statements like “what does it matter what we do here, we’re such a small player, it won’t have any impact on a global scale!”. This is something we don’t accept, and actually stand for the opposite; we here in Europe and especially in the Nordics are in an unique position to act as global forerunners in developing new technologies, practices and business models, and act as early adopters in testing and implementing new ideas. Together we can pave the way for others to quickly adopt tested, verified and ready-to-use measures. Then we start to see significant results globally.

We may often wonder, whether on the company level or individually, if are we brave or significant enough to take a good idea and realize it into concrete and viable climate action. When in doubt, we advocate courage and entrepreneurial spirit: no matter the grandness of an idea or its scope, it can be adopted, adapted and scaled, and will contribute to our common goal possibly more than you could ever imagine – nothing ventured, nothing gained!


If you want to join the #WeCompensate family of partners,  contact our team  today!

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