Oxford Sustainable Group launches €200 million renewable energy fund

August 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Member Projects, News from Members | Leave a comment
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oxfordThe RoGBC member Oxford Sustainable Group, the leading renewable/sustainable developer, announced the launch of The Oxford Renewable Energy Fund 9 (OREF 9) , a closed-ended fund to be listed on the Channel Island Stock Exchange (CISX) seeking to raise €200 million.  OREF 9 aims to add value, achieve capital growth and spread risk though investment in and development of a range of renewable energy projects primarily in Finland, Romania and Estonia.

The fund has a duration of five years and aims to deliver a low-risk 20% per annum return to investors after all costs and fees (net). The return requires zero bank financing, meaning high returns with low risk in the current financial market turmoil. The final development value of the projects generated could reach €2 billion.

The fund is targeting institutional and high net worth investors. The market in Central and Eastern Europe has performed well in the past compared to Western Europe and is expected to again perform strongly in the medium term. European and Global demand for energy is high and forecast to rapidly increase. Within Europe there is a strong government commitment to fixed targets and high subsidies to generate a minimum percentage of energy using renewable sources – some countries need to double their renewable capacity by 2020.

The Oxford Sustainable Group will select and manage OREF 9 projects through a process of careful and detailed analysis, due diligence and active management; this means that investments are selected based on the considerable value that the Oxford team can be add to them, taking account of project specifics, local area effects, general planning, political possibilities and market situation/trends. This is the same investment philosophy which Oxford’s previous eight investment opportunities have followed. To date, Oxford’s independently audited projects have delivered over 50% per annum on average.

Hadley Barrett, CEO, Oxford Sustainable Group said: “We have an impressive track record and years of experience leading our peers in this area. We are therefore delighted to launch OREF 9. In the current climate, the new fund represents a unique opportunity for sophisticated investors to generate strong returns. Our investment model is focused on adding value and does not count on passive asset appreciation. Added to our sustainable approach, we therefore outperform our peers, while preserving capital, even in a falling market, and creating value for our investors. The demand for renewable energy today vastly outstrips supply and the demand is only going to increase, so we are confident that investors are perfectly positioned to make excellent, risk-adjusted returns while contributing to social and economic future stability. I am sufficiently sure about this fund to kick it off with 20m Euro of my own money.“

The Oxford Sustainable Group goes further than other ethical/SRI methodologies in the market by using a proprietary 360 degree sustainable approach. This sustainable approach takes into consideration the effects of Oxford projects on all stakeholders.  Instead of focusing only on an “ethical” formula derived from narrow investment criteria, Oxford is concerned with how a project satisfies the needs of our investors, the environment, society, local residents and the broader economy.

The Oxford Sustainable Group was recently awarded CarbonNeutral status – the only CarbonNeutral renewable energy developer in the CEE region.

UNDP and Ministries of Environment; Foreign Affairs meeting

August 24, 2009 at 9:56 am | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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Representative of the Ministry of Environment's climate change team briefs the attendees on the activities to date

I just returned from a consultative meeting organized by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Romania, the Ministry of  Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The meeting’s subject was entitled “Romania in the Context of Negotiations for the New Global Climate Change Agreement, Copenhagen, December 2009 – United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention COP 15”.        Attendees included dignitaries of the above-mentioned organizations as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, various academic institutions, NGOs and private sector representatives.   We as stakeholders were asked to provide concrete recommendations as Romania prepares its position for national and international policy for the post-Kyoto period beyond 2012.

On behalf of the Romania Green Building Council, I made the following points:

1) That  studies being performed to calculate the economic impact of greater CO2 / greenhouse gas reduction commitments should also include the reduced economic risk from greater energy efficiency and energy security.    In addition, recognition of the significant contribution of buildings, new and existing, to greenhouse gas emissions  must be elevated in the continuing climate change discussions in Copenhagen and beyond.

2) Financing mechanisms that reward green building, green tech, and renewable energy solutions and are paid back by future energy savings are a low cost way for encouraging innovation and helping Romania to prosper from adopting a low carbon economy.

3) Density bonuses, property tax exemptions and expedited permitting (among other incentives) for green buildings can provide better quality investments, sustained economic growth, and, of course, better buildings.    A greater amount of green property investments offset the cost of tax reductions to municipalities and promote high-quality jobs.

4) Greater willingness to review and allow environmentally-superior construction materials is necessary to increase the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce their environmental impact.    Reaching climate change commitments can be achieved by more innovative thinking and new policies instead of requiring greater spending.

5) Companies should be supported in their transition away from fossil fuel.  We must let the market economy function but provide support in specific cases where the environmental costs are not captured by the normal market mechanisms.

Eliza Teodorescu presents recomendations from the Climate Action Network Romania

Eliza Teodorescu presents recomendations from the Climate Action Network Romania

The Legislative Outreach Task Group of the Romania Green Building Council is preparing, in cooperation with WWF Romania a position paper to be delivered to the Government of Romania which will include the above points along with more details on policies and tools to ensure Romania’s climate change response brings sustainable economic growth.

We look forward to your comments.

– Steve

RoGBC Green Cafe – Urbanization and Adaptive Reuse

August 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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The August edition of the RoGBC Green Cafe ended with unanimous laughter as Jaime Lerner, a Brazilian mayor sang the “Sustainability song” during his presentation on reinventing the urban system in his native city, Curitiba. “The city is not the problem, the city is the solution”, said Lerner in his TED Conference presentation that the Green Cafe participants watched and discussed.   A provocative thought that would motivate the discussions around “urbanization and adaptive reuse”, which was the main topic of this month’s meeting.

“Every city in the world can be improved in less than three years” argued Jaime Lerner. “This is not a matter of scale, it is not a question of financial resources” he added, before expressing his strong belief that “every problem in a city has to have its own equation of co-responsibility.” To explain this position, Lerner listed some of the most significant factors in achieving success, by presenting his work for restructuring the city of Curitiba.

While selecting important experience tools from his presentation, the participants described some of the obstacles that Romania crosses whenever it faces a changing agent willing to take action in the urban space. The lack of education, the very high level of beaurocracy and the lack of measures that would be specifically adequate to the Romanian environment were only some of the arguments the participants presented.

The discussion had a solid optimistic foundation that was set by another short movie, called “Adaptive Reuse in the Netherlands”. The educational documentary presenting the successful transformation of the Borneo docks and Sporenburg of Amsterdam into residential neighborhoods set a striking positive example of intelligent adaptation of the city to the needs of its inhabitants. Discussing the possibilities for Romania, the participants agreed that there is a constant need to adapt innovation and creativity to the local environment specificity.

RoGBC Library

August 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in General, Training | Leave a comment
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We are pleased to announce that as of today the RoGBC library is open to our members as a pilot test project. The library includes books on topics ranging from green building basics, sustainable architecture to green marketing and knowledge management.

All the books available at this moment are included in our online catalogue available here. Feel free to browse the books on our shelf. By hovering with your mouse over a book you will be able to see if it’s available or on loan (under RoGBC’s tags) and by clicking on a book on the shelf you will have access to a short description of its content. Also, a collection of architectural magazines (Arhitectura, Arhitext Design, Igloo, Green Source) is available at the RoGBC office. Feel free to drop by and peruse your favorite magazine.

We will continually enrich our book collection by acquiring new materials so we encourage you to check back often. We invite you to send us suggestions for new titles to be added to the library collections at books@RoGBC.org.

The rules and procedure for borrowing from the library can be found on our website.

We are looking forward to sharing our books with you.

Sustainable Construction in Transylvania!

August 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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Building green means building for the future, but at the same time building green has a lot to do with the past. Tradition and sustainability are, in a way, similar : both of them have to defeat time. Therefore analyzing tradition can reveal very interesting facts about the way people in the old times perceived sustainability and even applied it, although the term did not yet exist. The RoGBC used this idea and transformed it into an exciting event in Transylvania, the mountainous heart of Romania.IMG_0822

In the medieval environment of the “Land of the Seven Citadels” – as Transylvania is historically known – the participants took notice of the roots of sustainability in Romanian architecture and also got acquainted with the traditional Romanian food, music and folk dances.

Architect Horatiu Racasan held a presentation on sustainable construction practices and also showed some of his projects.

Eva Schmincke, a director of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and product specification expert, discussed the future of sustainable construction materials product declarations (EPD) and their role in sustainable construction in Europe.

Gabriel Rosca, President of the Sibiu chapter of the Romanian Order of Architects discussed the results of a summer school where attendees developed and presented urban planning and green solutions for the city’s challenges.

Nicholas Dimancescu showed a short film and explained the history and development of the Inn at Balaban – our venue for the weekend in Transylvania.

Sabin Maghiar
of Monsena demonstrated some of the work their company is doing for historical renovations in Romania.

IMG_5381Architect Silvia Demeter of Context Architecture and Romania’s representative to the European Council of Architects provided an excellent tour of Brasov city despite some interruptions from uncooperative weather. The sun got friendlier as we visited the Rasnov fortress.

As they first arrived in Bucharest, the participants took a walking tour through the capital city and hear about the stories behind its most important buildings. Luiza Hanc and Octavian Partenie, two of the associate members of the RoGBC, as well as RoGBC Communication Specialist, Alina Kartman, were in charge with providing the information for the tour.

Although time was short, plenty of other activities were fit into the schedule: an excellent outdoor dinner at the Hilton’s La Strada, and two unforgettable train rides 🙂

Check the RoGBC Flikr account for more photos from the event.

ARCHIBUS receives Buildings Magazine award

August 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Posted in News from Members | Leave a comment
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The RoGBC member ARCHIBUS received an award from the Buildings Magazine, attesting the excellent quality of their software ARCHIBUS TEAMS. The company received this distinction during the 2009 edition of “Top 100 Products/Services“.

Each year, the magazine awards 100 elite products, that go under a thorough selection process, based on criteria like the ease of use, the durability/life-cycle, the efficiency or applicability,the universal appeal and the sustainable/green elements.

The ARCHIBUS TEAMS suite of environmental applications was developed by ARCHBUS Solution Center – Environment + Sustainability Services, and contains environmental applications integrated with geographic information system (GIS) applications developed by ESRI. The applications contained in the ARCHIBUS TEAMS environmental software are:

  • Compliance & Financial Management – For consolidating Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) programs and tracking permits, orders, corporate initiatives; includes calendar with e-mail notifications.
  • Environmental Monitoring – Consolidates monitoring data, manages data for any media, compares data to standards, plots and reviews trends.
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) – Collects information on training, incident reporting, as well as medical monitoring.
  • Clean Building – Manages asbestos, lead-based paint, and other hazardous material.
  • Green Building – Tracks and documents progress toward LEED certification and Green Rating projects, as well as carbon footprint metrics.
  • Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) – Web-based MSDS inventory; search by location or chemical manufacturers.
  • Waste Management – Manages any wastes/discarded materials; recycling; tracks storage, transportation, and final disposition/storage.

Tudor Trita, CEO of ARCHIBUS Solution-Centers Romania, said that “the recognition of the quality of our environmental software ARCHIBUS TEAMS given by such a well-known instance in the Facility Management world such as Buildings makes us very proud and at the same time is yet another confirmation of the quality of the ARCHIBUS solutions.

The RoGBC salutes the applications opening for the Prime Property Award

August 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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The German Green Building Council (DGNB) announced the opening of the application period for the 2010 edition of the Prime Property Award. The competition is organized every two years by Union Invest, a company specialized in property management and also a member of the DGNB. The prize is awarded to property investors in Europe who excel at integrating sustainability aspects into the development and redevelopment of commercial and private buildings.

The current theme for the 2010 Award is “Creating sustainable investment and places” and the projects registered must have been completed between 2004 and 2009. The winners will be selected in a multistage process by an international jury of experts comprising investors, architects, town planners and project developers. For the evaluation a detailed list of criteria has been developed which enables the jury to measure and compare sustainable interaction between real estate, the environment and society. The awards ceremony will take place in Munich at EXPO REAL, Europe’s largest commercial property show, in October 2010. The deadline for entries for the first phase of the competition is 15 December 2009 and total prize money for the Prime Property Award is 30,000 Euros.

For more information please visit: www.prime-property-award.com

BUILD UP – the new portal for energy efficiency in buildings

August 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Posted in General, Green Building Projects, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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In June 2009 there was launched a new portal that delivers up to date information regarding EPBD and news related energy efficiency in buildings topic, creates on-line communities on subjects like – minimum  energy performance requirements, certification schemes, methods for calculating energy efficiency in buildings, inspection of boilers and air conditioning etc, displays various on-line tools for energy performance calculation or green design.

There is also a very interesting database with cases of good practice of energy saving. Those of you who are interested to take a look on what is already posted or propose a new case study can access this link .

Those of you who are interested to find out more about how EPBD was transposed and implemented in the EU member states can access a very comprehensive set of studies  on this topic.

The portal is supposed to replace and continue the dissemination of information initiative started with EPBD Buildings Platform, and like the first one is financed out of Intelligent Energy Europe program. BUILD UP is supposed to become EU Commission’s most important tool for communication regarding energy efficiency in buildings topic and a good mean to interact with the relevant stakeholders (building professionals, national and local public authorities, energy and construction experts, end-users) and receive feedback.

Anca Bieru

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