Watch: Real estate brought the planet to the brink. Can it now save it?

Fifth Wall's Brendan Wallace and Greg Smithies on how climate tech can transform — and enrich — the industry

National /
Apr.April 05, 2021 02:35 PM

There’s a triple threat for real estate players who take a head-in-the-sand approach to climate change, according to Brendan Wallace and Greg Smithies: Tenants will refuse to rent from you, regulators will throw the book at you and the capital markets will make doing business very expensive for you.

To Wallace and Smithies of Fifth Wall, however, the climate crisis is an opportunity for the real estate industry. Investing in Climate Tech will not only be crucial to survive as a business, they argue, but a source of great wealth. In the future, “being a real estate company means being a science investor,” Wallace said. “That is a massive mental leap.” Smithies explained the concept of “stranded assets” in the oil and gas industry: assets so energy-inefficient that they can no longer be financed. The same, he predicted, would soon happen to buildings that aren’t green.

The duo — partners at the largest real estate-focused venture capital firm in the U.S. — sat down with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani for an extended conversation about real estate’s climate culpability and investing opportunities. Watch the video above for highlights and read the full interview here.


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