The move towards more sustainable buildings and greener homes has become more obvious in the recent period in Romania, since owners can cut some of the running costs by implementing green principles. This has been among the major reasons for tight-budget developers and building owners searching for green solutions. Hotel owners, investment funds, office developers and even high-end residential owners have started to invest in turning their buildings greener.
By Corina Saceanu
Two Romanian hotels, Crowne Plaza in Bucharest and Hotel Saturn on the Romanian seaside have received the eco label so far, after implementing green building practices, while other hotels in Romania are also implementing such practices and take an interest in becoming greener, according to the Romania Green Building Council (RoGBC).
"Although we cannot speak about an expanded trend in Romania, the concern over green hotels is increasing. The use of intelligent systems for buildings triggers a 30 percent energy saving and allow the integrated and automated control of all the installations in a building," said David Nicholl, general manager with Schneider Electric Romania.
Green building practices have become more important for real estate developers and investors in general, not only for hotel owners. Major real estate investors, like Immorent and Portland Trust, have started to inquiry about green certification and look for sustainability policies, said Steven Borncamp, president of the Romania Green Building Council. “There is a USD 6 billion US fund which requires sustainability policies for the sub-funds which invest in each country, asking questions about building sustainability for each potential acquisition target,” said Borncamp at a RoGBC conference on green hotels.
There are about 40 buildings currently aiming to receive green certifications in Romania, some of which will come on the market in up to two years. This is an improvement compared to a couple of years ago, when there were only two such initiatives, Borncamp added.
An example of green office building is the City Business Center in Timisoara, developed by Modatim Investments, which has implemented systems to reduce its energy consumption by 40 percent.
Energy efficiency system producers and distributors have also seen increasing demand from customers. “A lot of our clients have been asking for energy efficiency systems. For example, for a shopping mall with a yearly energy consumption of EUR 1 million, interested in saving energy, the target energy saving is of 30 percent. This way they get a return on investment in one and a half years,” said David Nicholl.
Despite the drop on the real estate market, Schneider has managed to increase by 30 percent the number of energy efficiency projects in its portfolio over the last period, which mirrors the increasing interest for energy efficiency.
On the high-end residential segment, the implementation of sustainability solutions has already become a trend. “People who can afford a lot of things are also interested in sustainability and not necessarily because of the costs savings. I have had no problem in introducing sustainable solutions to rich clients,” said Katja Perrey, owner of Katja Perrey Lanscapes.