Developing or refurbishing? – the Excellent rating of ConvergenCE’s office buildings shows the way
Renovated buildings and imposing new architectural masterpieces are captivating human imagination as a symbol of progress, a thriving economy and the constant ability to renew. However, in a world of ever-shrinking resources, many people are asking the appropriate question: how often and how quickly should we demolish and rebuild? Is the ecological footprint smaller for new buildings that focus on efficiency or for renovated buildings that have more limited capacity due to their age? Csaba Zeley, Managing Director of ConvergenCE, has attended the “Europe GRI” conference, where he sought answers to questions from leading investors, lenders and developers in the European real estate market.
The energy used to heat, cool and light – in other words, operate – buildings accounts for 28 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions, and those related to materials and construction processes over the entire life cycle of buildings account for eleven percent. Buildings and construction are therefore responsible for 39% of the world’s pollution, prompting the call for immediate solutions. For example, recognising the severity of the situation, the UK government has pledged to reduce emissions from construction and operation to zero by 2050.
Nowadays, it is inconceivable to design and develop a new building without paying special attention to environmental and sustainability aspects, without meeting the latest energy requirements and without having a higher BREEAM or LEED certification. And obtaining certification is not just a regulatory compliance, but also a cost-saving, value-added aspect, a crucial factor in sales and leasing.
The main lesson from the Europe GRI conference last week is that the ecological footprint of a refurbished building compared to a new development is much smaller.
“ConvergenCE’s portfolio currently consists exclusively of refurbished buildings.” – as Csaba Zeley began his assessment of the conference. “With our investor partners, we buy under-positioned buildings in great locations, which we renovate and refurbish with state-of-the-art technology and services, then reposition and re-let. We pay great attention to ensuring that all of our properties have the highest environmental ratings, so we are pleased that CityZen Office Building was awarded the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating in June this year and Kálvin Square Office Building received the same rating this month. What I saw and heard at the conference in Paris only confirmed that ConvergenCE is on the right track internationally and is doing its best to protect our environment.”