Luis Horta e Costa: The Time is Right to Invest In Sustainable Real Estate in Portugal

Luis Horta e Costa The Time is Right to Invest In Sustainable Real Estate in Portugal (1)

For over 1,000 years, harvesting cork trees under Portugal’s bronze sun has been a labor-intensive pursuit. Due to cork’s inherently unique properties – 100 % renewable and recyclable with a 500-year lifespan – laws dating to 1209 have protected this exquisitely valuable crop on the Iberian Peninsula.

Protecting Portugal’s cork crops was prescient: Today, the country’s carefully preserved environment and intelligent resource use place it at the top of sustainability lists. It is in the top 20 of 193 UN Member States on the Sustainable Development Report that monitors 17 sustainability goals

Portugal takes environmental preservation seriously. Developers are infusing real estate properties with environmentally-friendly technologies. Luis Horta e Costa, the co-founder of Square View, focuses on investor relations and new investment opportunities. 

Most notably, Square View recently built AZO, an 18-unit apartment community with eco-friendly elements in bay-front Cascais. To construct the luxury dwelling, Square View partnered with Stone Capital, a  developer and asset manager, and OTO, an architecture firm that marries an Old-World aesthetic with sustainability. All three teams understand sustainable technologies and green materials.

Stone Capital founders Arthur and Geoffroy Moreno believe they are aligning with the Portuguese market with future demands by propelling sustainable construction in the country. As one example, Stone Capital supported Comporta Retreat, a compound of 29 houses on large plots in Comporto, Portugal. A sustainable material, CLT (cross-laminated timber), was used so the structures achieved carbon neutrality, or “net zero,” to offset CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Portugal Jumps to the Forefront of Sustainable Construction 

Before co-founding Square View, Luis Horta e Costa managed 250,000 square meters in real estate projects at Grupos Espírito Santo Angola, the investing behemoth. At Square View, he manages a portfolio including 500 residential units with an eye toward sustainability. 

In a world increasingly concerned with sustainability, it’s hard to imagine that an apartment building or family home could be environmentally unfriendly. But the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) collects construction data pointing to buildings’ environmental threats. 

The WorldGBC’s research reveals that buildings are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions. This number derives from the electricity needed to heat and cool structures and the energy used to produce construction materials. 

Portugal already expresses deep concerns about the environment. A survey by the European Investment Bank that explored people’s perceptions of climate change in 2021 showed that 91% of Portuguese people are willing to use low-polluting trains as a substitute for short-distance flights. 

While there is pressure from the government to reduce the carbon footprint, more than 80% of the Portuguese population agrees with the government’s stricter policies for energy-efficient properties, a percentage higher than the European Union average.

 In 2008, Lisbon’s government leaders identified the city’s nature-rich areas that needed protecting. They composed the Green Plan to do this through green city planning, preservation of natural corridors, and sustainable construction practices.  

Luis Horta e Costa, Square View, Stone Capital, and OTO Dedicated AZO’s Luxury Apartments to Sustainability 

As the sparkling Atlantic Ocean bathes Portugal’s borders, its natural beauty speaks to why Portugal has long pioneered environmental legislation. Such remarkable surroundings are why AZO’s building partners located the luxury apartment property in dreamy Cascais, a historic village perched alongside the glittering Atlantic Ocean.

Located a convenient 20 miles west of Lisbon, Cascais was a traditional fishing village until the 20th century, but it is today a fantasyland locals call the Portuguese Riviera. The region boasts fresh seafood, gorgeous beaches, surfing, and sailing and is known for its barefoot luxury vibe.

 Cascais also draws low-profile residents with deep pockets who seek environmentally friendly places and spaces. So, as Luis Horta e Costa explains, “Sustainability, parking for electric cars and a lot of green areas were part of the AZO project.”

Horta e Costa praises the vast green technologies available today, noting that AZO grew from “a lot of creativity, small details and materials, chosen with dedication and with our mind on the customer’s satisfaction.”

AZO’s environmentally-positive foundation reflects the seriousness with which Portugal has moved to protect its environment – and it speaks to how seriously residents view this need for protection. New environmental policies have strong support within the country, as 85% of the Portuguese population favors stricter ecological measures currently on the books. 

Construction sustainability in Portugal is not just a trend but a necessity, and the benefits of investing in eco-friendly real estate in the country are increasingly apparent. Just as leaders protected Portugal’s cork trees 1,000 years ago, they continue to erect measures toward sustainability. In recent years, Portugal’s Support Programme for More Sustainable Buildings arose as a conduit to improve buildings’ energy and environmental performance through financing sustainable construction. 

Construction sustainability that yields efficient designs, self-sustained buildings, and better quality construction are growing conditions for better business in Portugal. “Real estate is at the very top of the economic pyramid in Portugal and will be the sector to reignite the whole economy,” says Hugo Santos Ferreira, Executive Vice President of industry investment group Associação Portuguesa de Promotores e Investidores Imobiliários (APPII).

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