83% of Portugal’s Investors Foresee a Rise in Demand from Tenants for Sustainable Buildings
Most of us think fondly of our homes, we certainly don’t think of them as a threat to the environment, but they are. According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions. Around 28% of that figure comes from the energy required to heat and cool buildings and the electric consumption and the remaining 11% from the energy used in the production of the building materials. It is clear that we all urgently need to start building sustainable housing and encouraging the retrofitting of environmentally friendly features into existing properties. Portugal is a country which has taken this challenge seriously and its new environmental policies have strong support within the country, 85% of the Portuguese population favour stricter environmental measures.
According to a survey by the European Investment Bank, 77% of the Portuguese population feel that climate change has had a negative impact on their lives and 83% are in favour of renewable energies. A response which is 20 points above the E.U. average. This enthusiasm for environmental change has resulted in a dramatic change of attitude from landlords, who have come to realise that ‘green’ buildings generate higher yields than comparable ‘non green’ properties. So called ‘green leases’ have become a way of formalising the criteria by which a property’s carbon footprint can be measured.
Largely as a result of the ‘Golden Visa’ scheme, which enabled foreign purchasers of real estate, over a certain value, to obtain residency rights for themselves and their families, the Portuguese property market has boomed over the last ten years. The drive by the government and its people to achieve a carbon neutral country now make Portugal one of the best countries in the world in which to invest in sustainable property. In fact, Portugal has already demonstrated its potential for running carbon free, when in May 2016 the nation ran exclusively on wind, solar and hydro generated power. With the closure of its remaining two coal fired power stations, the country has also completely stopped the use of coal in its production of electricity, eight years ahead of its 2030 deadline. The expectation is that there will be a dramatic drop in carbon emissions as a result.
Portugal has also broadened its ‘Golden Visa’ scheme to create a ‘Green Visa’ scheme, which aims to encourage foreign investment in environmentally friendly projects. The visa will be granted to foreign investors who invest a minimum of 500,000 euros into one of four environmental areas: eco-tourism, organic farming, renewable energy, and carbon neutral projects. The scheme is intended to drive ecological investment and help Portugal transition to a carbon free economy. For the investor, aside from obtaining a Portuguese visa, there is also the opportunity to obtain Portuguese residency after five years and a full Portuguese passport after six, allowing the investor freedom of travel within all the Schengen territories.