23 August 2018

Major cities are going greener thanks to sustainability labels

According to the annual U.S. Green Building Adoption Index, the number of buildings with a sustainability certificate has grown considerably in major cities. The index was published today by CBRE (the world's largest real estate service provider) and Maastricht University, at the initiative of Nils Kok, associate professor and expert on the financial impact of sustainable real estate. 'This trend not only improves the quality of life in major cities, it also has a positive effect on real estate financing,' says Kok.

Green certification pays off
Sustainability labels like LEED and BREEAM go a step further than energy labels. In addition to measuring energy consumption, they also measure water use, waste facilities, health aspects such as air quality, and accessibility. 'Investors like APG, PGGM and other Dutch pension funds value sustainability certificates and take them into account when considering real estate investments,' says Kok. 'More importantly, banks like ING, Rabobank and ABN AMRO consider certification to be an important factor in deciding on finance applications. Green bonds are also becoming more popular and green certification is often used as a spending objective. ABN AMRO has issued several green bonds directly linked to green certification. The Dutch Climate Agreement needs the real estate sector to help it achieve its goals. Sustainable real estate, in both new and existing construction, is also crucial.'

Maastricht University takes the first step
The Green Building Adoption Index also explores the emergence of new certificates for buildings, such as the WELL Building Standard, which is geared towards health and well-being in buildings. UM recently applied for WELL certification for the Tapijnkazerne. The goal was twofold: to become the first building to achieve certification and to apply the new knowledge in all of its future real estate activities. 'This application is a great addition to the previous goal of developing the Tapijn buildings sustainably in the hopes of achieving BREEAM certification. The sustainability value of the building will be assessed in terms of management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use, ecology and pollution,' says UM real estate developer Ralph Herben.

[Click here to download the report]