O1 Properties and CBRE discuss prospects for green certification at press breakfast

October 29, 2019. O1 Properties and CBRE, the leading international consulting company for commercial real estate, held a press breakfast on the theme: "Green buildings: what investors need to know". The experts described certification of office real estate to green standards, and the advantages and difficulties of certification for developers and owners.

A “green” building is a building, the design, construction or operation of which reduces or eliminates negative environmental impacts and/or  has positive impact on the climate. The number of BREEAM certificates issued in Russia has risen to 171 in 2019 from zero in 2010, when the first building in Russia (the Ducat Place III business centre, owned by O1 Properties) obtained certification. Six percent  of office buildings in Moscow now have green certificates. That compares with between ten and twenty percent in Europe seventy percent in the USA.

Pavel Yakimchuk, Head of Building Consultancy and Project Management at CBRE, presented payback calculations for environmentally-efficient technologies based on reduction of operating costs (savings of up to 20%). But experts of CBRE and O1 Properties agreed that the main driver for green office development is demand from a new generation of office workers for high-quality, comfortable and productive office space. Employees with key skills choose employers who can offer a work place with natural light, good air quality, high quality catering, relaxation and green areas, natural building materials and availability of sports facilities.

The experts confirmed that interest in environmentally efficient real estate is growing. While most of the demand for green office space was previously from foreign companies, Russian tenants are now also keen to obtain such space. A green certificate guarantees quality of the building and proves that the owner has a systematic approach to its management.

Two cases of certification to BREEAM standards, at the Krugozor and iCUBE business centres, were presented at the breakfast. Both centres are owned by O1 Properties. Krugozor is a redevelopment of a former Soviet-era industrial building. Environmentally efficient technologies and solutions were already used when the redevelopment  was carried out in 2007, including panoramic glazing, use of natural materials for decoration, recreation zones and landscaped grounds. During the recent certification, separate waste collection was introduced, incandescent lamps were replaced by energy-saving LED lighting, and light sensors, water-efficient plumbing and a lift dispatching system were installed. Plans for the future include further landscaping and creation of infrastructure for alternative modes of transport.

Unlike Krugozor, the iCUBE business centre is an example of certification of a new facility (the building was commissioned in 2014). A key feature of the project is a unique green roof that enhances sound insulation and reduces the “thermal island” effect. Birdhouses have been installed in outdoor spaces at iCube. Plans for the near future include the introduction of various plant species.

O1 Properties intends to certify the whole of its real estate portfolio to BREEAM environmental standards. The technologies and practices, which the company applies in management of its business centres, help to reduce consumption of natural resources and negative impact of buildings on the environment.

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