Green Buildings in Romania…

February 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Posted in Certification, General, Green Building Projects, Romania's Greenest Buildings | 1 Comment
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The EuroTower acheived a BREEAM “Very Good” rating and awaits final “post construction” certification and its first tenant’s have had a chance to settled in.   RoGBC is pleased to present the opinions of Cascade Group’s Alex van Breemen – one of the early proponents (and executors) of green buildings in Romania and WSP Group, the design stage assessor of the project.

What do you see as the biggest benefit and the biggest challenge in undertaking a green project?

Alex van Breemen – The main BREEAM certification benefit for us, as developer, is that attestation that the EuroTower is designed and constructed according with the international standards in terms of quality, energy efficiency, environmental protection and sustainability. This demonstrates Cascade Group’s continued commitment to excellent design and construction practices, enhancing the building performance and workplace environment to our tenants, and reducing overall energy and material consumption in our projects.  By going green, Euro Tower provided substantial savings to tenants’ of operating costs, an optimal work environment for employees and a significant contribution to the environment in terms of reduced energy consumption and a clean environment.

The biggest challenge for us, was that we could not find the local expertise or experience for this kind of project and we worked together with WSP Group assessor from London together with our project management team. The first stage of certification was coordinated locally by our project manager Razvan Nica, who was responsible for interpreting the BREEAM requirements and to implement them into the project supported by UK based BREEAM Assessor. The Final certification (post-construction) is ongoing and is done by Razvan – now a BREEAM assessor, who left Cascade Group to setup his own green building assessment business -BuildGreen Romania.

What is WSP’s advice to developers and investors considering building BREEAM certified buildings?

Alex Batraneanu, WSP – Our experience both locally and internationally shows that for developers who plan to get the BREEAM certification for their projects, the sooner they implement BREEAM elements in the design and the more time they spend on planning, the easier and cheaper will be for them to obtain the BREEAM certification. This is applicable for all types of projects from retail and commercial through to healthcare and educational buildings. It is extremely beneficial to have BREEAM certification undertaken by well-known multi-disciplinary practices, particularly ones that employ BREEAM certified designers. Having full knowledge of both the certification and the design process means the consultants can assist the Client to implement BREEAM requirements early in the design and cost-effectively stage in order to spend less time on execution and retro-fitting solutions.

Did your tenants, other investors respond to the green features of your building as you had hoped?

Alex van Breemen – For our tenants, the EuroTower features and operation offer support for their corporate environmental policies. Indoor comfort and productivity of the tenants’ employees is enhanced by creating work areas which maximize exposure to natural light and offer sweeping views over the city. In addition, the lighting, heating and cooling systems are controlled by occupants according to their needs and preferences. This together with the high performance equipment make energy savings possible of up to 30% as compared to a standard A-class building which is reflected in the tenants reduced operational costs.

For the investors and also for the tenants, the green building certification is proof of the quality and sustainability of EuroTower from the early design to operational stage.

Do the local regulation support the green building certification process?

Alex Batraneanu, WSP – From nearly 10 years of working in the Romanian market place WSP Group have learned to understand the contradictions between local regulations and availability of resources and the requirements of BREEAM. It is hard to achieve a BREEAM credit for minimizing car park spaces when the local norms stipulate a higher number than BREEAM allow. Knowing which credits to target and, more importantly, having the design knowledge to achieve them is crucial to achieving a good BREEAM rating without increasing build cost.

How has the crisis affected the perceived benefits of green buildings?

Alex van Breemen -I cannot tell you that the real estate crisis has not affected us, but I consider that some important features of a green building, like accessibility of the location, provision of public transportation( metro, trams and busses) as well as lower operational cost for tenants made the EuroTower attractive to potential clients in today’s market conditions.

What are Cascade’s future plans for green buildings?

Alex van Breemen – Cascade Group considers that sustainability must be an integral part of the analysis and management of any new or existing real estate investment. Our long-term business objective is to create high quality, cost-effective, attractive work environment for our clients. We promote responsible and sustainable business practices and continually work toward creating best quality real estate developments will continue to certify all of our future developments with a targeted BREEAM rating of at least “Very Good”.

1 Comment »

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  1. We work on green building assessments at http://www.vfa.com and it’s great to see these efforts expanding into new areas!


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