The Business Case for Green Building and European Green Building Policy Challenges – In Discussion with James Drinkwater

January 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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On January 29, at the Clifford Chance Badea headquarters, we organized a meeting between James Drinkwater, Senior Policy Advisor, World Green Building Council (Europe Regional Network) and RoGBC members. On this occasion, James Drinkwater held two seminars dedicated to introducing the members into the matter of policy change and of the next steps for the industry in order to help government and the EU take the best decisions.

The first seminar presented the World GBC’s landmark 2013 report on the costs and benefits of green building, underlining the business case for green building. If in 2007 the reason for building green was that it was the right thing to do, the incentive has gradually shifted up to today, more and more companies investing in green buildings because these stand for a better business decision.

In the second seminar of the session, James Drinkwater discussed EU green building policy and legislation, going through major challenges that governments and businesses are facing. This discussion highlighted the opportunity for creating a voice of industry in support of policy regulation.

The RoGBC Policy Task Group comes as an initiative to channel this voice of the green building industry in Romania, to discuss the needs, objectives and opportunities of each stakeholder on the market and put these forward for regulation. As a RoGBC member, if you want to take part in this Policy Task Group, please contact Monica.Ardeleanu@RoGBC.org.

Want to join RoGBC? Click here. 

Managing Green Building Projects

August 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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MGBP

On the 8th of August, Romania Green Building Council organized the Managing Green Building Project workshop, in Bucharest, a comprehensive insight into the key principles of sustainable construction.

We were privileged to have Eric Johnson among us, a consultant specialized in planning, cost management, and delivery of green commercial development projects. Eric demonstrated the importance of management quality, sharing from his vast experience gained as a LEEP AP and BREEAM Assessor and involvement in numerous international committees of experts.

Among the objective, the course tried to give a full definition of an integrated project management, identify the requirements and challenges posed, as well as the assessment tools and strategies needed to successfully deliver high performance building projects, aiming to increasing profitability through streamlined management and planning practices.

The 30 participants enjoyed an interactive training, the informative sessions were interspersed with case studies and teamwork, which helped them successfully achieve the objectives. Also, they identified the most appropriate ways of implementing best business practices for the management of sustainable buildings.

We believe that raising public awareness about the use of assessment tools and adopting an integrated project management, will help the future development in this area.

Event location at the Cervantes Institute was provided by our partners AECOM, which was the perfect setting for out courses and we would like to use this opportunity and Thank them!

For more pictures visit our Facebook page.

Financial Incentives for Green Buildings in Romania

August 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Events, General | 1 Comment
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Romania Green Building Council, in partnership with DAS Engineering Group and Cluj-Napoca Town hall, invited the IT&C companies from Cluj to a conference on the subject of financial incentives for highly energy efficient green buildings.

The conference was opened by the representative of Cluj Napoca local authorities, Ms. Emilia Botezean, who welcomed the guests with and introductory speech. Following this, Steven Borncamp, president of Romania Green Building Council, granted the Cluj Napoca local authorities with the Award for the Governmental Initiative of the Year 2012, earned through by implementing the tax reduction on buildings in order to reward energy efficiency and green performance. Cluj-Napoca is the first city in Romania to adopt this policy, opening the path for other local public authorities that we hope will follow this success example.

After the award, Mr. Borncamp presented a brief overview of the green building trend and industry capability in Romania. Thus, Romania’s accession to the European Union and resultant legislative changes has increased the strategic outlook on high quality, sustainable construction. Local companies are improving their capability while leading international companies have entered the Romanian market bringing an increased level of professionalism, and implicitly, the requests on the market. From a green building perspective, there is a significant increase in awareness of the Romanian business community on the issue of sustainability and energy efficiency. Adding to the above the opportunity to grow in the underdeveloped field of green building in Romania, we can say that the market is highly favourable to sustainable project initiatives.

Further on, Mr. Dorin Beu, lecturer at the Technical University of Cluj Napoca, presented the financial incentives for green buildings, followed by  Alexandra Stoica’ s presentation, representing DAS Engineering,  regarding the steps required to achieve a sufficient level of green building performance to qualify for the tax discount.

The Establishing of the Regional Cluster for Sustainable Urban Development „Green Building& Development„

August 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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The Establishing of the Regional Cluster for Sustainable Urban Development „Green Building & Development„

On the initiative of the Center for Technological Transfer CENTI Cluj Napoca, a new step was taken in the direction of the development of Romanian-Hungarian business relations in the field of green energy, in order to secure a sustainable and clean future.

During the 2nd and 3rd of July 2013 an event dedicated to the Use of Green Energy Sources for a Sustainable and Clean Future in Romania and Hungary took place in Târgu Mureș, consisting of a conference that hosted specialists from both countries, business meetings between companies based both in Romania and Hungary and a study visit to the companies active in the field of sustainable energy in Covasna County. The event was dedicated primarily to companies working in the green energy sector, yet it can be considered a model of good practice in international cooperation for other regions and industries as well.

During the two day conference, a significant moment was the signing of the Collaboration Protocol regarding the establishing of the first Regional Cluster for Sustainable Urban Development „Green Building& Development”. It will act as an organisation that enables the cooperation between the economic field, local public authorities and research institutes, looking to align and to represent the economic and general interests of urban communities. The cluster will work as a legal entity in the form of a non-governmental organisation, with the operational procedures, the association’s relations and competences to be discussed and established through the mutual agreement of the members.

The cluster’s general objectives are to participate and initiate innovative and growing projects, to support the sustainable urban development through legislative initiatives, the training of specialists in the field and the creation of new workplaces, as well as greening the urban transportation, attracting funds for rehabilitation projects and participating in consortium to project auctions regarding urban development. Internally, the cluster seeks to increase the profit of member companies, to develop its own products and services, together with a coherent cluster policy, a personal IT system, to contribute to the professional development of its members and employees and to attract funds for management.

Romania Green Building Council was among the signatories, along other 29 institutions coming from various fields, such as universities, financial institutions, constructions, sustainable energy, IT, transportation, as well as consultancy companies, project management companies, local public authorities and catalyst institutions. As a professional organisation, according to the agreement, RoGBC takes on the role to support the professional formation of the cluster’s members and its growth at national end euro-regional level.

Given the strong compatibility between the RoGBC objectives and those of the new Regional Cluster, we are pleased to be founding members of the most recent cooperation initiative in sustainable urban developments.

Energy Efficiency of the New Estate Development

August 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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The Association for Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection, în collaboration with Bursa Construcțiilor/ Construction Stock, organised on Friday, the 21st of June2013, a conference on the subject of Energy Efficiency of the new estate development. Almost 100 specialists attended the event, debating the possible solutions for increasing the energy efficiency in the real estate projects, both residential and commercial, amid the new European legislation on highly energy efficient buildings, taking into consideration the available financing and models of good practice at home and abroad.

In the context of the „times of the lowest price”, the architect Șerban Țigănaș, president of the Order of Architects in Romania,opened the discussion with the question of the relation between the individual, the building and the city, exemplifying this with urban renewal projects.

 The main estate developers came forward to present their plans for future growth and their interest to increase energy efficiency within these proposals.
Representing the business sector, several speakers came to the microphone – Ingo Nissen, country manager at Sonae Sierra, the international commercial centres developer, speaking about energy efficient commercial spaces, the developers of the residential ensemble Metropolitan Residence, Robertino Georgescu and Daniel Drăgulin, and Mihai Bizu, the developer ofthe Appollo Residence ensemble.

Further on, Mr. Ion Dogeanu, as Executive Director of The Association for Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection, presented the European context for the improvement of the energy performance of the buildings, identifying development opportunities within the long term European Strategy. Șerban Danciu, Task Force Manager Romania at the Institute for Building Performance (BPIE) presented the priorities in the development of the strategy meant to improve the energy performance of the buildings in Romania, proposing several options for combining the available funds.
Oana Stamatin, LEED Green Associate at Colliers International, spoke about the steps that need to be taken in order to reduce the energy waste in buildings and the result that can be achieved, considering the building orientation, the location, the building envelope, natural light and lighting system, the use of water, the heating and cooling and the use of efficient equipment. By applying ecological standards to the above, the building is prone  get higher rent and selling prices.

The architect Mihai Trandafir presented a model of good practice in de sector of energy efficient buildings, the project Eurogate in Viena, the largest residential ensemble Passive House certified, also detailing the requirements of this certification. Finally, the construction material producers, represented by Octavian Nicula, Manager Thermo Insulating Products at AdePlast and Marcel Ionescu, general Director at Europlastic, presented solutions for the thermo insulation of the buildings.

The audience was invited to participate in the debate, formed of estate developers, constructors, architects, energetic auditors, engineers, real estate consultant, representatives of patronages and specialised associations, press, etc.

Launch of the Guide for Local Tax Reduction on Green Buildings

August 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Events, General | Leave a comment
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Following the increased interest of the public authorities in Bucharest and throughout the country in the sustainable development of the built environment, on Monday, the 10th of June, Romania Green Building Council and the Association of Municipalities of Romania launched the Guide for local tax reduction on green buildings during the conference on financial incentives for the promotion of green constructions with a high energetic performance.  

The document represents a working instrument for the local public authorities, meant to support the decision making process in order to attract investments for the construction of green buildings and to reward the investors’ efforts through tax reduction on these buildings.

The launch of the guide was accompanied by presentations that traced the context of the legislative proposal for tax reduction on green buildings.  Mr. Steven Borncamp, president of the Romanian Green Building Council, launched the presentation series through a detailing of the benefits that the green buildings bring to both the Romanian community and to the development of the construction industry’s capacities. Mr. Borncamp depicted the necessity and the commitment required from the private investors to provide significant investments for the development of sustainable new buildings or renovation projects in exchange for the benefit of tax reduction.  He also highlighted several success cases, including the Cluj-Napoca Municipality, the first town to apply the tax reduction on buildings in order to reward energy efficiency and green performance. In this respect, the vice- mayor of Bucharest, Mr. Marcel Nicolaescu, confirmed the orientation of the capital city towards an environmentally friendly urban development.

Luiza Manolea presented the legislation that stands at the basis of the decision of tax reduction on green buildings, a chance with which she highlighted the characteristics and principles on which this kind of tax incentives are rewarded, ensuring a high adaptability to the specificities of each community and willing to establish a balance between the interest of the community and that of the building owners. In this way, the highest investment efforts and the achievement of the highest sustainability requirements are rewarded through tax reductions, for a longer period up to four years,  while the tax reductions don’t exceed a cumulative of 80% of the tax due.  Also, she mentioned that the proposed fiscal measure for the promotion of green building is different from other fiscal or financial incentives, as: it includes all types of buildings, not only the residential ones, the investment comes from the owner, the initiative is private, the energetic efficiency requirements are higher and are accompanied by sustainability criteria, whose achievement is confirmed by final certifications internationally recognised.

Bringing a new perspective to the subject, this time the view of the energetic auditor, Mr. Eugen Goldhammer sent out a clear message- You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Thus, he highlighted the benefits of an energetic audit, both from the point of view of the authorities and that of the companies, given that it represents a major instrument within the implementation process and further on in the annual monitoring of the environmental management  systems, according to ISO 14001 and EMAS, and that it has an important part in reaching the established objectives through the annual and multi- annual strategies  of increasing the energetic efficiency and of reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide, and not the least, it reduces costs with maintenance of the buildings.

Further on, Alinda Dudu’s presentation concentrated on the introduction of the main international certifications in sustainability. She discussed the fact that the international certification standards for green buildings, of which LEED and BREEAM are the best known, represent a viable method of evaluating the performance in sustainability of a building. These systems are voluntary, neutrals- managed by third parties and can be applied at different stages of the building’s life, as well as to a variety of architectonic programs in Romania.

In addition to this, the subject of creating a package of tax incentives, neutrals from the point of view of the expenses, has been brought to discussion, in order to encourage the development of constructions, renovations and the management of environmentally friendly buildings, while bringing significant value to the local and regional economy. Mr. John Lyins discussed this subject, adding that from the point of view of the employees, they can only gain from the low rate of absenteeism and of illness, as well as from the increase of efficiency at the workplace.

The interest shown by the public authorities and their openness towards the improvement of community life encourage and at the same time bind us to continue the initiative to build or transform existing buildings into sustainable constructions. We wish that through this practical Guide, also meant to be a model of decision making for the local counsel, we can contribute to the implementation of as many instruments for the stimulation of green building constructions. 

The guide for local tax reduction on green buildings, as well as the legislation pack that provided the basis to its realization can be accessed on the homepage of the Romania Green Building Council.

Find out which are Romania’s Greenest Buildings! Thursday, March 28th

March 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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Are you a RoGBC member or green building enthusiast? Then join us next Thursday on March 28th for the launch of the official report of Romania’s Greenest Buildings! Learn how to keep yourself ahead of the competition by analyzing the case studies we will present!

The event measures the current state and celebrates green buildings successes, proposes tools for municipalities that benefit the community and reward environmental responsibility, and explains the economic rationale of the “business case” for green buildings.

Agenda

10:30 am – 11:00 am | Coffee & registration 

11:00 am – 11:15 am | Opening Remarks

11:15 am – 11:45 am | MEASURING SUCCESS: Romania’s Greenest Buildings campaign

RoGBC has partnered with NAI Romania to gather research data, analyze and produce a comprehensive national list of “Romania’s Greenest Buildings”.  The RoGBC will present the methodology used and provide additional analysis of the state of the country’s green building market.

11:45 am – 12:00 pm | Q&A

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm |EFFECTIVE TOOLS: Proposed Property Tax Reductions for Green Buildings

The RoGBC will present its toolkit to assist municipalities in implementing legislation that rewards green building accomplishments, creates green jobs, improves local economies and improves local government budgets.

12:30 pm – 12:45pm | Q&A

12:45 pm – 13:15 pm | ECONOMIC BENEFITS

The World Green Building Council with the support of expert organizations has created a report entitled “The Business Case for Green Building: A Review of the Cost and Benefits for Developers, Investors and Occupants”. The RoGBC will summarize the key findings of the report and answer questions.

Speakers include:

  • Andrei Chiliman, mayor or Bucharest District 1
  • Sorin Oprescu, general mayor of Bucharest (to be confirmed)
  • Steven Borncamp, president RoGBC
  • Cristina Siu, director of development and marketing, RoGBC
  • Mihaela Nicolau, Content Manager, RoGBC
  • Andrei Botiș and Florin Maravela, principals of NAI Romania
  • Jukka Parkkamaki, SKANSKA Romania

The event is open to the business community subject to room capacity with first priority to RoGBC member companies and invited guests. For more information, please visit the conference page or contact Alina.Balusescu@rogbc.org or phone (021) 222 00 11.

Organizer                          Research partner                              Research tool

                 C21 logo Romania

Property tax reduction for green building owners in Cluj-Napoca

May 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Certification, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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The Cluj-Napoca City Council  delivered a positive example to the nation being the first municipality in Romania to adopt specific measures for encouraging green building development. The City Council voted on May 24 to provide a 50% reduction in property taxes for buildings earning a green certification and achieving the top score on the energy efficiency rating.

This decision shall apply only to buildings that are certified by three certification systems recognized worldwide:

  • LEED;
  • BREEAM;
  • DGNB;

According to the latest decision, starting with 2013:

  • building owners that are legal entities will pay half of the annual building tax for buildings with an A level in the energy performance certificate and that have obtained an official green building certification. This  practically means  that the annual property tax was reduced from 0.50% to 0.25% for green buildings in Cluj Napoca;
  • for individuals  the City Council granted a 50% reduction of annual property taxes on residential buildings that have an A level in the Energy Performance Certificate and an official green building certification issued by any of the three systems mentioned above.

To be eligible for the property tax reduction the building owners have to present:  

  • the final reception certificate issued by the local planning service;
  • the energy performance certificate;
  • the green building certificate issued by any of the three systems: LEED, BREEAM or DGNB;
  • declaration of conformity issued by the Romania Green Building Council.

The project was initiated by the local councilors and the executive team from Cluj-Napoca City Hall: Irsay Miklos, Laszlo Attila, Csoma Botond, Somogyi Gyula and Molnos Lajos, Virgil Porutiu, Victor Radoi.

We would like to congratulate and thank them for the initiative!

The RoGBC would also like to thank the following persons for their support and involvement in obtaining this legislative success:

  • Dorin Beu, Director RoGBC Transilvania;
  • Luiza Manolea, Attorney at Law – RoGBC General Member;
  • Razvan Nica, BuildGreen Romania – RoGBC General Member;
  • Elena Rastei, ecovision – RoGBC General Member

“The Romania Green Building Council will provide assurance to Cluj-Napoca that only qualified green buildings are provided this benefit and assist project developers interested in obtaining this certification.” explains Dorin Beu Ph.D. , Director of RoGBC’s Transilvania chapter.

“This is an excellent and timely move as the economic benefits to the project and community include higher building valuations, lower operating costs, creation of green jobs, reduced impact on traffic and other infrastructure, and, importantly, attracting high quality local and foreign investment to Cluj-Napoca.  Many of the top tier companies investing in the region are seeking the benefits of green buildings ” added Steven Borncamp, Founding President and CEO of RoGBC.

The RoGBC has campaigned since its inception for these type of “green economy” stimulus measures arguing that it is a desired way to both encourage economic growth during challenging times while using the long term financial benefits to repay any early investments.   In addition, this organization has argued that this will ensure local businesses and professions remain competitive as building and related energy standards increase across Europe and the world.

“Many cities in Europe, driven by the new stringent EU regulations on energy efficiency and green energy production,  have adopted specific local incentives for buildings.   Most of them are targeting building renovations or directed to the public buildings.   The Cluj-Napoca initiative improves on these by also including private developers and new construction and focusing beyond energy efficiency and green energy to reward other essential elements of such as ecological materials, site selection and management, and transport issues. ” explains Anca Bieru Robinson- RoGBC’s Director of International Relations and Policy and Chairperson of Europe Green Building Council Network Policy Task Force who has been guiding policy analysis and formation at the European and National and Municipal levels in Romania.

Encouraged by this action in Cluj-Napoca, the  RoGBC intends to continue its efforts to encourage other municipalities to adopt similar measures across the country.

Read the official document on the Cluj City Hall website here

Director of RoGBC Transilvania, Mr. Dorin Beu appointed as member within Ecodesign group

October 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach, News from Members | Leave a comment
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Dr. Dorin Beu, Director of RoGBC Transilvania and Founder of „b lighting” was appointed as member within the Energy Labelling and Ecodesign Technical Subgroup – Advisory Forum Ministry of Economy and Commerce and Business Environment- Department of Industrial Policy.

This technical subgroup establishes a framework under which manufacturers of energy-using products are obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts occurring throughout the product lifecycle. During the ecodesign group meetings a number of proposals were discussed regarding the ecological design and eco-labeling of directional lightning lamps, light emitting diode lamps (LED) and halogen lighting converters. These proposals are part of the so-called domestic lighting ecodesign requirements.

Simply speaking, the proposed requirements will cover everything that is related to the efficacy of directional lighting: luminaries, reflector lamps and LEDs.

Congratulations and best wishes for this project!

 

 

Property tax extemption for rehabilitated residential buildings in Romania

October 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach | 2 Comments
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Starting with July 2011, a new law  that approves the famous 18/2009 GO regarding the thermal rehabilitation of blocks of flats, introduces the property tax exemption for owners who rehabilitate their buildings. The exemption period is of minimum 7 years and is applicable only if the owner covered the expenses of rehabilitation (her)/himself and only if he/she obtained an energy audit before the rehabilitation and can prove that the auditor’s recomendations were implemented.

The measure is  very welcomed, but RoGBC hopes that this is just the beginning of further similar measures that address also the commercial/office sector of the market as well . It is well known that the property taxes for residential houses/apartments are very low and can’t motivate alone a decision for rehabilitation. So if the national/local government’s strategy with this measure is to motivate building owners to improve the quality of their buildings and reduce energy consumption, the big building owners should be targeted as well.

In a research made by RoGBC on Local Measures to Attract Investments in Green Buildings we identified the most effective local measures that could motivate developers to build green and/or renovate existing buildings at green standards. When it comes for financial measures, the property tax reduction and a discount of the building permit fee were on top of the list.

Local public authorities have the possibility to create such tools since according to the Fiscal Code they can establish the level of property tax  somewhere between 0.5 -1.5% per year from the value of the building.   Asking for tax reductions and exemptions in a challenged economic period might look too courageous,  some may say…..not also if you consider the increased value of the building if it obtains a voluntary environmental certification or at least an A in the Energy Performance Certificate ( EPC’s are mandatory anyway). Building green does not mean only energy efficiency, but for now this is the best regulated area by mandatory laws.

There are also the other benefits that come with building green such as higher level of productivity of the employees, reduced sickness days, higher retention rate, better comfort etc…not to leave aside the potential for creating new jobs and stimulating the local economy since a lot of services and solutions have to be sourced locally.

What do you think?

Anca Bieru

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