The Square in Luxembourg given first HQE certification for building already in use (LU)
Tuesday 12 June 2012
|The Square, owned by EuroSelect 16, one of the real estate funds managed by IVG Private Funds Management GmbH, and managed by Property Partners, has received the first ‘NF Bâtiments Tertiaires en exploitation et utilisation – Démarche HQE’ certification issued by Certivéa in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and internationally for an existing building.|
|The real estate industry is today responsible for a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide production and almost 40% of global energy consumption. The use of buildings accounts for 80% of this impact.|
In 2012 it is easy to construct an ecological building. The real challenge is raising the efficiency of existing buildings in Luxembourg (constituting office stock totaling 3.3 million m²). Should they be demolished, rebuild or renovated to reduce their environmental impact? Should a building like The Square, which was built in 2003, be modernized?
Property Partners, the leading building manager in Luxembourg, is in the position to identify economically sound alternatives. The company is already committed to a sustainable development approach and has developed a clear long-term vision on property management under mandate. As a consequence, it has been able to persuade IVG, owner of The Square, to reposition its building on the market by securing environmental certification.
This will make the building more attractive to potential tenants and first and foremost persuade existing tenants to renew their lease.
For the project, IVG and Property Partners took the decision to use the services of a company with proven expertise. PWC Luxembourg was tasked with supporting the project carriers in their pursuance of HQE certification, which was selected because of its demanding criteria and targets that necessitate permanent interaction between owner, property manager and all other parties involved in the site (including tenants and service providers).
After an exhaustive energy audit and a few months devoted to optimizing the technical aspects of the building and implementing key procedures, IVG and Property Partners achieved their goal when French certification body Certivéa approved the admission audit for The Square.
This benchmark certification, issued for five years, is a guarantee of the environmental performance of The Square and the comfort and health of its occupants. It is also a guarantee that the building will be managed in an energy efficient way, unlike other office buildings of the same generation on an increasingly competitive market.
Committed users day to day
The NF Bâtiments Tertiaires en exploitation – Démarche HQE certification is proof that a building is comfortable, healthy and more environmentally friendly, with 'partners’ that are committed to a process of permanent improvement.
Performance in all these aspects is reviewed annually during the validity of the certification by an independent company.
The owner, property manager and the 2,800 tenants work on a daily basis to reduce energy consumption and so carbon emissions as part of a full-fledged sustainable development policy. This permanent interaction is based on socially responsible behavior, which it enhances and improves in both professional and private life by building on best practices.
Stephen Prevot of the Immeubles - Chantiers et Techniques spéciales department of Banque Internationale à Luxembourg SA, a tenant at The Square, is completely behind the initiative. “As a user, this HQE certification project has opened our eyes to best environmental practices, which we have already adopted at our bank for communication, management and purchasing policy.
“It has also made us aware of the various targets we need to meet to improve our environmental behavior. With this in mind, we will endeavor to bolster this certification in the future by adopting new practices and strengthening existing procedures.”
Mario Libonati, Head of Facility Management Luxembourg at Clearstream, says: “We are delighted that our Luxembourg main office has now been HQE certified. At Deutsche Börse Group and Clearstream we have always managed and run our offices in Luxembourg and elsewhere in the most environmentally friendly and efficient way possible.
“It pleases us to say that the various additional measures taken in maintenance and to improve the system have been assessed and found to be of high quality. This also shows the feasibility of achieving ecological efficiency without the need for major investment, even for a ten-year building.”
Convinced that it will see a return on investment in the short term, IVG has installed systems to monitor maintenance and consumption as part of a permanent drive to improve efficiency.
The total investment in the certification project is €584,000 before tax over five years, broken down as follows:
- 63% intellectual services (procedure adoption, looking for financing, putting together the HQE application, implementing the service level agreement…)
- 5% costs for certification and use of the HQE mark
- 32% technical investments to reduce energy consumption (installation of meters, deployment of an energy monitoring solution, installation of dual flush toilets…)
The building is equipped with a high-grade technical management system to control production equipment, such as remote visualization of consumption, proactive management with alarms on the meters, programming of lighting and temperature levels and automatic lowering of the awnings to ensure the building does not become too warm.
Proper management of the HQE building reduces the charges for tenants. The potential annual saving is €160,000, on top of lower carbon emissions, an important issue for the future of our planet.
IVG and Property Partners have developed a multi-technical SLA guaranteeing an annual reduction in consumption of at least 5%. A bonus scheme has been set up to encourage the multi-technical company to invest its best efforts to reduce this further.
An environmentally responsible transport policy has also been put in place, including information on the nearest buses and bikes, and the creation of a car-pooling platform. An electricity-powered mobility concept for professional and private use is also being studied.
A window on the square
HQE certification is a source of added value to The Square on an increasingly competitive market. As a result, The Square can be run more efficiently than other buildings, which is a key selling point.
It is a strong argument for tenants to renew their lease, because it has a positive impact on productivity by improving their wellbeing and comfort.
The approach has also attracted attention from the University of Luxembourg, which views it as a matter of general interest that needs to be made available to everyone. Several students have written their thesis on the subject and helped author and analyze seasonal surveys on the behavior and perceptions of The Square’s occupants.
After this initial success, Property Partners hopes to secure the approval of tenants to initiate similar certification projects at all buildings in its management portfolio in Luxembourg, which cover some 400,000 m² in all.
Stéphane Terver, Head of Property Management at Property Partners, paved the way for this sustainable development strategy by forming a Sustainable Development department in July 2011. The new department will help the owner/investor create value and dynamise the existing buildings by making them more attractive and more profitable.
Source: Property Partners
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