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The profits of being green

Eurobuild CEE 15 March 2017
POLAND The implementation of ecological standards in office buildings results in an average of 30 pct less electricity used and annual savings of around PLN 0.5 mln, according to the ‘Energy Consumption in Office Buildings’ report published by Skanska, GO4Energy and Cushman & Wakefield.

The study analysed 20 office buildings built over the last 20 years including both buildings that had and did not have ecological certification. Half of the buildings were built by Skanska while the rest came from the management portfolio of Cushman & Wakefield. The real energy consumption measurements for each building were compared to those of a control building that had never implemented any ecological solutions at the design or construction stage. “Over the last few years we have gathered a lot of data on the functioning of the green office buildings we’ve constructed. To see how our design assumptions actually worked in practice we needed to compare our buildings to other office buildings in Poland. There turned out to be a lack of detailed and comprehensive studies that could be used by our development operations. We decided with our partners to draw a study that fully analysed the Polish office market with buildings of different ages and with various environmental specifications,” explains Waldemar Olbryk, the managing director for support functions at Skanska.

Clear savings

According to the report, the investor has a decisive effect on the energy-saving characteristics of a building. Through the implementation of a certification scheme, operational energy savings of over 30 pct can be achieved reducing operational costs by as much as PLN 500,000 per year. Tenant behaviour is also of great importance in achieving significant energy savings. “Up till now, the specific nature of tenants’ operations has not been taken into account when designing energy models. The electricity used by tenants accounted for between 14 and 65 pct of the total energy used by a building. This is the starting point for a new method of building assessment, which separates the running of a building from the energy consumption of its tenants,” explains Piotr Bartkiewicz, partner at Go4Energy.

Active management

According to the report even older buildings built in line with sustainable construction principles can be energy efficient while providing a comfortable working environment. Maintaining the energy efficiency of a building requires GreenFM, which continually monitors the operations of a building and its installations and also provides data as to where further operating cost savings may be made. “Buildings developed over the last six years showed the greatest savings in energy consumption, which were as high as 32 pct proving the profitability of applying solutions at the design and construction stage. With appropriate real estate management we can identify those areas with excessive energy consumption and correct or modernise a building’s operations,” says Zuzanna Paciorkiewicz, a partner in the real estate management department at Cushman & Wakefield.

A certificate is not everything

According to the report the certification level does not significantly equate to the level of savings generated. Although a building with an ‘Excellent’ rating under the BREEAM New Construction certification scheme was admittedly more energy efficient than one rated as ‘Very Good’, according to the study the differences were minor and did not represent an unambiguous advantage. Buildings certified under LEED Core and Shell with a ‘Platinum’ rating showed no significant improvements over those certified at the ‘Gold’ level.

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