The International Sustainability Alliance (ISA) has called for a single pan-European standard for the real estate sector. In an interview for the June edition of PropertyEU Magazine, ISA co-chair elect Jaap Gillis said: 'There should be one standard, one benchmark for Europe'.
The ISA, Gillis said, is the perfect platform as it brings together leading players from across the property industry. The alliance uses the BREEAM as its basis but it is open to other certification systems as well. Gillis is chief operating officers of Redevco Europe.
Over 20 of Europe's leading real estate companies have signed up to the ISA in a few months. One impetus is the EU regulations that stipulate all new buildings and refurbishments must be nearly zero energy by 2020.
Industry leaders interviewed by PropertyEU say that sustainability isn't just a matter of regulation. 'Car manufacturers first started introducing security features as an additional selling point so that they could sell more cars. But eventually these features became mainstream and now you cannot sell a car without them. The same applies to real estate and the use of green features in buildings,' said Alstria Office CEO Olivier Elamine.
Everybody - investors, pension funds, occupiers - are aware that they have to do something, agreed ING REIM's Jan Vermaas. 'There may be a green divide at present in terms of pioneers and laggards, but I think it will be temporary. We are currently facing the biggest real estate crisis in 28 years and sustainability is not off the radar. That proves it is not a hype.'
Glenn Aaronson, CEO of Multi Development agreed that green development has become mainstream. 'A few years ago, we had discussions about the extra cost of building a sustainable centre. Now we don't think about - sustainability is the norm.'
The cover story of the June edition of PropertyEU Magazine provides extensive coverage of the 'green divide'. Click on the link below to subscribe.