BuildGreen, Romania’s leading development, design and green building certification company, ended the year 2017 with a portfolio increase of over 100%, surpassing the level of 2,7 million m2 of properties assisted for certification. Also, the year 2016 marks the expansion of BuildGreen’s activity in the CEE region, by entering 3 new markets – Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia. As for 2017, the company plans to consolidate its international presence and increase its portofolio with 30%.
“Among the most notable projects started by BuildGreen in 2016 is the certification of NEPI’s property portfolio in Central and Eastern Europe. The fact that Europe’s biggest real estate company chooses to implement green building solutions represents a positive signal for the entire real estate market and an unprecedented recognition of sustainability as a strategic tool in the successful development and management of commercial properties.
The second positive market signal is given by the increased demand from end-users, which could be considered the “tipping point” of large-scale adoption of green building principles. As of last year, we have been receiving more and more requests for certifying owner-occupied buildings, coming from companies outside the real estate sector. We already manage 3 projects of this type” – says Răzvan Nica, BuildGreen Managing Director.
SIGNIFICANT PORTFOLIO GROWTH
In 2016, BuildGreen signed consultancy contracts for 33 new projects – located in Romania, as well as in other Central and Eastern European countries, such as Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia. This represents the start of a new stage in the company’s expansion to other markets.
The new contracts represent a 67% growth in the number of projects managed by BuildGreen. With regards to the total area of the certified or assisted projects, the portfolio increased with more than 100% in the past year. Thus, if, at the end of 2015, the total area of the properties assisted by BuildGreen was around 1,2 million m2, at the end of 2016 this number is over 2,7 million m2. This achievement proves that developers, real estate investors and tenants alike are consistently adopting a greener way of thinking.
POSITIVE CHANGES TO MATCH THE DEMAND
The demand for sustainable development and certification of buildings increased significantly throughout 2016. Three major trends characterize the market evolution:
- A spectacular growth of interest coming for retail developers, along with positive signals from the industrial and residential segments;
- Increased demand for sustainability outside Bucharest;
- The rise of a new type of customer: the end-user.
Big real estate investors from Romania and from across the borders, small developers or even final users are among the new clients contracted by BuildGreen in 2016. The new contracts include iconic projects such as The Bridge, developed by Forte Partners, Unirii View, the office tower built by Belgian investor Yves Weerts in downtown Bucharest, or Globalworth Tower, owned by Globalworth investment fund. Also, in 2016, NEPI assigned BuildGreen to manage a thorough certification process that covers NEPI’s entire property portfolio in four key markets.
The major change of 2016 comes from the retail segment – which has become a second sustainability market driver, next to the office market. In BuildGreen’s case, retail accounts for 29% of the total number of projects assisted for certification, respectively 46% of the portfolio’s total area. Office buildings still dominate from the numerical point of view (62% of the total number of projects), but account for a smaller total area (41% of the portfolio expressed in m2).
The industrial and residential segments also show signs of increase, reaching a percentage of 13% in the total certified area in 2016.
In 2016, BuildGreen successfully obtained 20 sustainability certificates. Although Bucharest remains the city with the biggest number of certified properties (more than half of the assisted projects), in 2016, the main achievements and market premieres came from secondary cities, such as Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Brasov and Timisoara. The list of major accomplishments include the certification of Moldova Center (BREEAM Very Good – highest sustainability level for a building in Iasi), Coresi Business Park (BREEAM Very Good – the very first building in Brasov to be certified as sustainable), CORESI Shopping Resort (BREEAM Excellent – the first retail project in Romania which gets this strict certification level, and the 2nd in the CEE area), the certification of The Office Cluj-Napoca’s second phase (highest certification level for a building outside of Bucharest, and the 2nd in Romania) but also Shopping City Timisoara (highest certification level for a retail project on the existing buildings category).
Good results were soon followed by BuildGreen’s recognition by real estate market experts, which resulted in a series of awards: the ESSA award for sustainability, granted by CIJ Journal, one of the biggest pan-European publications in the real estate sector, the Forbes Green award for contributing to sustainable development in Romania, as well as the award for Best Sustainable Building Consultants in CEE, offered by Build magazine.
In conclusion, sustainable building and green certifications made a huge step forward in 2016, being increasingly used as a management tool for the efficient development and operation of real estate properties – in Romania, as well as in other CEE countries.
POSITIVE PREREQUISITES FOR 2017
As 2017 arrived, the focus of the main players of the market will move to building high quality projects, capable to reshape both the urban landscape and the general attitude towards sustainability. According to public data, in 2016, over 30 big commercial properties (office, retail and industrial) have obtained an international sustainability certificate in Romania only. BuildGreen estimates a 25% increase of the number of certified projects country-wide and a 30% increase of the company’s portfolio in 2017.