July 24, 2022

The Doughnut for Urban Real Estate

Home.Earth has received a grant of DKK 4.3 million from Realdania to develop the 'Doughnut for Urban Real Estate

Home.Earth has received a grant of DKK 4.3 million from Realdania to develop the 'Doughnut for Urban Real Estate' - a model and method for absolutely sustainable construction across bottom-lines. It will be developed in collaboration with a broad group of partners, including leading researchers and advisors. The model will be open-source and the aim is to contribute to the whole industry's transformation towards absolute sustainability.

“In Home.Earth's model for sustainable construction, it is our earth that sets the limit”', says Kasper Guldager, architect and co-founder of Home.Earth.

The Doughnut for Urban Real Estate will be a new model and method for absolutely sustainable construction, which Home.Earth will develop in collaboration with a broad group of partners and with the support of the philanthropic association Realdania. The focus on absolute sustainability - rather than relative sustainability - is an important part of the motivation behind the project:

“In Home.Earth we will use the planetary boundaries as our yardstick. It should not be a question of building to silver, gold or platinum, or working to 2030 or 2050 targets. Instead, the question is simple but clear: does the building in question contribute positively or negatively to a sustainable planet with room for all”', continues Kasper Guldager.

A round doughnut with three bottom lines developed by a broad group of partners

The Urban Real Estate Doughnut will be developed by a broad group of partners. The team includes researchers from BUILD at Aalborg University, the Quantitative Sustainability Assessment group at DTU and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. On the consultancy front, Tegnestu-en Vandkunsten, EFFEKT, Sweco and SLA Landskab are participating in the project. Green Building Council Denmark ensures that the model is anchored in the needs of the sector, and Realdania supports and facilitates the project.

Simon Kofod-Svendsen, project manager at Realdania, says: “The construction industry really needs to raise the bar in terms of how we build more sustainably. And this project has a lot to offer. In addition to the new methodology for absolute be-sustainability, Home.Earth is also developing a building system, which they are even testing 1:1 in several concrete building projects. With the partner group and the project's explicit aim to share with the industry, I expect both a push and a hand up to the industry that will be seen in future property development.”

The Doughnut of Urban Real Estate draws inspiration from the Doughnut Economy developed by British economist Kate Raworth, who in 2012 visualised her economic model with a round doughnut. The economic society model takes into account the limits of the Earth's multi-environmental pressures by incorporating the principles of Planetary Boundaries developed by the Stockholm Resilience Center.

The model is visualised by a doughnut with outer and inner boundaries, with the healthy community located in the doughnut between the two boundaries. Falling outside the doughnut's boundaries indicates that you are putting more stress on the environment and climate than the earth can sustain over time. If you fall below and hit the hole in the middle, it means you have failed to support a socially responsible society. The doughnut's indicators are thus planetary, social and economic.

A practical tool developed open-source for the whole industry

The project has already started and will result in a series of publications describing, among other things, methodology, building processes and target values for absolute sustainability. The whole project will be developed open-source to ensure that the methodology can be disseminated to the whole industry.

Home.Earth and the partners involved hope that the project can contribute to a greater focus on absolute sustainability in the construction industry and look forward to seeing the holistic method, which covers planetary, social and economic goals, being used and developed by other actors.

"We don't believe in copy rights, but in rights to copy", concludes Kasper Guldager.

Fact box

Home.Earth will develop the Doughnut of Urban Real Estate - a model and methodology for socially, planetarily and economically sustainable construction.

The model draws inspiration from "Doughnut Economics" and will be developed in collaboration with EFFEKT, Vandkunsten, Sweco, SLA Landscape, Green Building Council, Stockholm Resilience Centre, DTU and BUILD.

Realdania has supported the project with a grant of DKK 4.3 million.

Home.Earth is a real estate company founded in 2021 to show a more sustainable and socially inclusive way of developing cities and housing in European metropolises.

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