Analysis of physical risks related to climate change for Gecina’s real estate office portfolio

Why adaptation to climate change matters to lower the value at risk

Buildings, designed to be managed over several decades, are particularly exposed to evolving climate hazards, particularly extreme hazards: heat waves, floods, intense rainfall, storms. Impacts on Gecina’s activity can be physical (damage to the structure or the technical equipment) or functional (deterioration of occupants’ conditions). Adaptation to climate change is therefore a major issue for the building sector. To anticipate and limit the impacts of climate change, Gecina decided to carry out an analysis with Carbone4, an expert consultancy in the field, of the physical risks looming on its portfolio, with the idea to trigger an action plan to improve the resilience of its assets afterwards.

A scientific method leaning on 3 factors to identify risk areas

Climate change risk for a building is evaluated on the basis of 3 factors (see chart below).

  • The climate projection index reflects the evolution of the hazard over time in terms of intensity, duration or frequency of occurrence. This evolution is analyzed for a given time horizon and climate scenario. The analysis was carried out for five climatic hazards that had a pre-eminent impact on the building: heat waves, intense rainfall – floods, droughts, storms and progressive rising temperatures. The evolution of these climate hazards was analyzed in the Ile-de-France region by 2070 according to three evolution scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from the IPCC report
  • The local context index enables to take into account the potentially impactful specificities of the environment in which the building evolves: the presence of urban heat islands, the type of urban area, the presence and type of vegetation, the flood risks in the area, the sensitivity of the area to the shrink-swell capacity of clays and the level of soil sealing. This index combines with the climate change projection index to measure exposure to a given climate hazard as accurately as possible.
  • Lastly, the vulnerability index provides information on the sensitivity of the building to a given hazard (which potential impacts, which parts of the building eg structure, technical lots, use by tenant) and its capacity to adapt. 17 office buildings were identified as potentially at risk considering the scenarios (‘gross risk’ approach), but after taking into account each building’s characteristics only 9 buildings need further analysis (‘residual risk’ approach), of which 2 will be refurbished soon.

Conclusion and next steps

The 20 adaptation solutions identified will be integrated into the action plans of the assets following a comparative study of their implementation costs, the costs of repairing the potential damage and the potential loss of financial value for the assets concerned. The value of the real estate properties concerned by these action plans represents €0.9 billion. This approach to adapt to climate change is part of Gecina’s overall climate roadmap encompassing a 2030 target to lower its carbon footprint, Science-Based Target Initiative recognition and alignment of its reporting with recommendations by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Further details are available in Gecina’s 2017 annual report :
This article is written by Gecina.

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