With great neighbourhoods comes great responsibility. Moda Living is determined to change the way that people live. To do this, we need to step up and take charge of the way that the rental market treats its residents and the shift towards a healthier, more sustainable way of living.

Richard Smith Moda

Richard Smith

It would be easy for us to sit back and claim to be changing the status quo, collect the rent and move on to the next project. But too many have been guilty of that for too long and someone needs to break the circuit.

In May, Moda Living’s Edinburgh scheme became the first residential development in all of Europe to achieve the highest possible level of Fitwel accreditation – a standard we’ll be aiming for in all future neighbourhoods.

So what does that mean? If you’re not familiar with Fitwel, it is the leading global accreditation standard for all-round healthy lifestyle experience. It looks at how every element of a building is delivered, from the environmental aspects to the employee and resident behaviour within it. It touches every element of the journey of ESG monitoring.

One of the key elements it looks at is our partnership with proptech outfit Utopi, which provides wellness sensors to every home and amenity space in our neighbourhoods. These monitor air quality, temperature, light and humidity in real time to monitor building performance and build a wellness report. Utopi also allows us to monitor our energy consumption and increase the efficiency of the buildings.

Applying for Fitwel accreditation means you must go even further than this, though – another element that was looked at was our focus on health and wellbeing and we provide services including exercise classes, wellbeing workshops and even nutrition and sleep expertise for residents and staff.

We need to take charge of the shift in the way that the rental market treats its residents

Why bother, you ask? Because as a family company with a long-term view as a co-investor, developer and operator, our responsibility to the planet and our people is triple that of most businesses in the space and we take that extremely seriously.

We want to be held accountable for the impact we’re having on our communities and, with dedication, we believe that impact will be an extremely positive one.

In the BTR and wider property sector, we also have a responsibility to each other to, yes, hold each other accountable, but also to educate and learn from each other about driving sustainability and wellness across the board.

I currently chair the UKAA’s sustainability working group and have learnt invaluable lessons from my colleagues from all corners of the industry about what they’ve done well and not so well, and what Moda can do better – this work will all be fed into the upcoming UKAA Best Practice Guide.

We are actively delivering thousands of homes across the UK. We can do our bit to encourage residents to live sustainably – but ultimately, the ESG performance of the neighbourhoods is our responsibility.

We will continue to take this responsibility extremely seriously, and hope the industry will join us in doing so.

Richard Smith is managing director of Moda Life Management