The fever for sustainability and energy efficiency is increasingly consolidated in the Spanish real estate sector, which thanks to the impulse of large funds, socimis and building owners, has managed to position Spain among the ten countries most committed to the environment.
The evolution of the sector towards a greener world can be measured through the growth that the different certification platforms are having in our country, which take note of buildings based on the impact they generate on the ecosystem and also on users of real estate. According to the data collected by the Economist, Spain has slipped into the top 10 global.
Europe is leading the battle for sustainability. Our country is sixth in the world ranking, after overcoming a long distance race. This method of sustainability evaluation and certification did not land in Spain until 2010, coinciding in time with a severe crisis. The first stage had little movement in terms of certifications, and those that were made were very focused on housing, with some 40 units between 2010 and 2014. In addition to the economic crisis, the low knowledge and notoriety that the certificate had at that moment.
Promoters and socimis ‘cement’ the sustainability of the real estate sector by certifying its efficiency.
However, as of 2014, coinciding with the launch of the new real estate cycle, the number of projects has multiplied by 1,000, with more than 17,000 certified homes, in 188 buildings, and more than 670 properties in total. Behind these figures is the momentum of large companies, which are the ones that are betting the most on the certification of their office, logistics and retail projects.
In this second half of the decade, in Spain, the increase in certifications has been exponential and not only in number, but also in different types of properties. In addition, intense work is being carried out to certify, by the different administrations, public teams such as sports centers or schools, that sustainability is no longer an option, it is an obligation.
From the European Union the indications are clear. The new Technical Building Code requires all new buildings and those that are rehabilitated to be of almost zero energy consumption from next May.
Advantages of these properties:
28% of CO2 emissions come from buildings, so action on them becomes essential for our country to comply with environmental requirements. The more sustainable design and construction formulas in buildings also provide a series of advantages for both the owners and users of these assets. According to the data, the energy saving in a property certified under this methodology is between 30% and 70% and the reduction in water use is approximately 40%. In the case of an office building or a shopping center, the cut in operating costs is between 7% and 8%.
But, how much does the bill increase when it comes to constructing a more sustainable building ?:
According to a report developed by the Catalan Soil Institute, the increase in construction costs for buildings is around 3.5%.
The energy saving in a certified sustainable property is between 30% and 70% and the reduction in water consumption is approximately 40%.
From Leed, based on a study developed in California, they point out that they do not necessarily have to be expensive to build to obtain a Leed certificate. In addition, they point out that sustainable improvements in a property are paid, by themselves, in three years, with an Annual Return on Investment (ROI) that ranges between 25% and 40% “. They also ensure that the impact of sustainable buildings in productivity are very high, achieving improvements of between 2% and 16% in office employees or an increase in sales of 40% in stores per square meter. on exams in schools they improve by 20%.
Beyond environmental awareness and apart from these savings and improvements, which really generate more direct benefits for the tenant of the properties, the fundamental reason why companies bet on certification is the ease that this generates, to the time to rotate your portfolio and sell the properties in the future, in our country. Real estate investment funds as well as REITS since 2005 have a priority of investing in Leed certification because it increases the value for their portfolios.
Challenges and opportunities of smart cities:
Leed lands in Spain in 1998 in a pilot phase, but it will not be until 2006 when the first building certificate was completed. The Alvento business park became the first Leed-certified building in all of Europe and the second in Latin America. Spain closed 2019 leading the European ranking and advanced to ninth place globally in buildings registered in the Leed Program.
In the case of this label, it was not “until 2008 when the market began to pull strongly. The crisis did not sell everything and therefore having this certificate was a boost.” As of December 2019, Spain has 378 Leed certificates, of which the majority – about 250 – are office buildings, followed by a large difference in retail and industrial assets.
The real estate world, which is a traditional fund market, needs a taxonomy and a way to identify which building is sustainable.
For their part, from the Green Building Council Spain, which manages the Green certificate, they point out that “sustainable financing is very much in vogue throughout the financial sector, everyone is looking for a way to invest in funds, to decarbonize their portfolios, and this is what They do this through projects that guarantee sustainability. The real estate world, which is a traditional fund market, needs a taxonomy and a way to identify which building is sustainable and which is not, and the optimal way to do it is certifications”.
In recent years we have seen an increase in investment funds that wanted and demanded this guarantee, for example from the socimis, which have promoted the certification of their portfolios, mainly for this reason. “Some company, which was born in 2008, has registered An important growth, in recent years until reaching the end of 2019 the 63 certified buildings.
Impact on health:
Another of the certificates that has been developing the most, in recent years, is Well’s, which differs from the previous ones by focusing on the users of the property, since, instead of measuring the impact of the building on the environment, what it measures is the impact on people’s health and well-being. In many cases, this stamp is complementary to that of Breeam or Leed.
Well was born in late 2014 in the United States and it will not be until 2018 when projects begin to be registered more actively in our country. Although, the growth rate is so exponential that in just one year Spain is ranked seventh, in the global ranking, with 9 certificates and 74 in process.
It is a young certification, but from the experience that has been gathered in other countries, it can be shown that, in addition to the benefit that it brings to the health of employees, companies also benefit, since there are fewer sick leave and productivity is higher. So far, the largest number of projects for this platform is offices, although in Spain, too, hotels are being certified and little by little they rent homes, in which the management remains in the hands of the owner.