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ESG - Embracing a Sustainable Future: The Use of Renewable Energy in Commercial Real Estate in France

Through out France, commercial real estate developers are increasingly recognising the importance of embracing renewable energy solutions to create a more sustainable and environmentally conscious urban landscape. This shift towards cleaner energy sources not only aligns with global efforts to combat climate change but also offers significant economic and operational benefits. 

1. Solar Power Integration: One of the most prominent renewable energy sources being harnessed in commercial real estate in France is solar power. As the country experiences reasonable sunlight throughout the year, developers are capitalizing on this resource by integrating solar panels into building designs. Rooftop solar installations not only generate clean energy but also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of commercial properties. This is especially true when the energy is used on site, which is progressing, though there is room for improvement in particular due to the difficulty to store energy. 

2. Energy-Efficient Building Designs: Beyond renewable energy generation, commercial real estate developers in France are prioritising energy efficiency in building designs. From green roofs (or roofs painted in white with special paint) that enhance insulation to intelligent lighting systems that optimise energy consumption, sustainable features are becoming integral components of new construction projects. Retrofitting older buildings with energy-efficient technologies is also a common practice to align with the county’s commitment to sustainability. 

3. Biodiversity: The 2016 French biodiversity law mandates that biodiversity measures should not only offset any losses but strive for a net gain. Real estate projects are required to not just preserve but actively contribute to the nurturing and development of nature within urban areas. To enforce these principles, the French government established the French Biodiversity Agency, which merged with the National Agency for Wildlife in January 2020 to create the French Office for Biodiversity. There has been a significant surge in emphasis on biodiversity amongst the French commercial real estate market in recent years. Initiatives, like cultivating vegetables on rooftops, are becoming more prevalent, such as a notable project near Porte de Versailles, and maintaining beehives on roofs, as seen in our Reed Smith Paris office at 112 Avenue Kléber. Similar efforts are being undertaken across various buildings to promote and support biodiversity. 

4. Government Initiatives and Incentives: The French government has played a crucial role in encouraging the adoption of renewable energy in commercial real estate. Various financial incentives and tax breaks are available for developers who prioritize sustainable practices. These initiatives not only support the transition to cleaner energy but also make eco-friendly projects more economically viable. 

5. Enhancing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Companies leasing commercial spaces in Paris are increasingly recognising the importance of aligning their operations with sustainable values. Businesses are actively seeking office spaces that prioritise renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly practices, not only to reduce their carbon footprint but also to enhance their corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

The integration of renewable energy solutions in commercial real estate in Paris represents a transformative shift towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. As developers, businesses, and the government collaborate to create a greener urban landscape, France is not only preserving its historic charm but also becoming a beacon of innovation in sustainable urban development. By embracing renewable energy, France is setting an inspiring example for cities around the world, proving that economic growth and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand.


environment, france, real estate, esg