It has been six years now since the ČSOB headquarters in Prague Radlice, the very first green office building in Prague, was successfully certified (in 2010). During this relatively short time period, a total of 59 buildings have gained certification from one of four internationally acknowledged certification systems (status 3/2016). Recounted to the administrative space available, green office premises form almost a third of the total modern office stock in Prague. In this respect, Prague has become the leader among the so called Visegrad countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary). Energy efficient or sustainable buildings can feature higher construction costs (up to 15 % - 20 % more than conventional office development) however, it has to be said that half of the office premises currently under construction strive for green pre-certification. So, who are the drivers behind green office development?
Many international corporates have included environmentally responsible conduct into their CSR strategies. As energy savings, potable water savings and carbon footprint limits are relatively easy to achieve in today´s green buildings, certified sustainable properties have become the preferred option for environmentally aware companies. Besides the upbeat feeling of doing good, the tenants benefit from low service charges in relation to consumed energy (especially for electricity and heating/cooling).
„There are companies who lease their premises in green buildings (such as PwC and GSK in City Green Court, Ernst & Young in Florentinum and MSD in Riverview) and who have their green offices built to suit (such as the ČSOB headquarters in Radlice and Kooperativa in Main Point Karlín),” says Tereza Skorkowska, Office Consultant at JLL.
Green office developers meet the expectations of international real estate investors as well. “Green certificates have gradually become a market standard for office buildings which evidences the building´s sustainability from an international perspective and at the same time allows a relevant comparison with other buildings in the local and regional market,” adds Hana Kollmannová, Senior Analyst in Investment Consultancy at JLL.
EU and Czech Legislation
As buildings stand for 40% of the overall European energy consumption and nearly 36% of CO2 emissions, there has been number of legislative initiatives at an EU level in the past decade with the clear aim to reduce their impact on the environment. There is a combined effort at a European level linking environmental protection with political interests, namely to decrease the EU’s energy dependence on politically fragile states. On the top of that, the EU has set its so called 20-20-20 target to decrease the greenhouse effect by 20%, to decrease the overall energy consumption by 20 % and increase the use of energy from renewable sources up to 20 %.
The Czech legal system incorporated the relevant European Parliament directives in the form of Law Nr. 318 from 2012 (č. 318/2012 Sb.) on Energy Management, which was amended by the Public Notice Nr. 78 from 2013 (prováděcí vyhláška č. 78/2013 Sb.) introducing among others energy efficiency cards (so called energy efficiency tags).
According to law no. 318/2012 (zákon č. 318/2012 Sb.), as of the 1st of January 2016, all new office buildings larger than 1,500 sqm that are being prepared for the state and/or regional bodies need to demonstrate in the building permit application documentation that the energy efficiency certificate will prove the building will have limited energy consumption. In the following years the size of building, for which such a certificate is required, is going to reduce to ca. 350 sqm. The same conditions are going to be applied for commercial office developments as of 1 January 2018 as well.
The requirements from each of the above mentioned stakeholders encourage developers to opt for green office development which is both demanding in terms of project documentation as well as proper construction processes. At the moment (3/2016) there are 12 office schemes under construction in Prague, 5 of which are striving for pre-certification.
Rustonka office building in Prague 8 is one of them. Marriana Ratkošová from J&T Real Estate comments on it: “Rustonka is a building which meets tenant’s requirements of a creative and collaborative working environment. The project has already obtained a LEED Gold pre-certificate. Tenants can look forward to state-of-the-art technology, which contributes to the overall energy efficiency and which saves money for energy consumption. We call the project philosophy “effectivism”, which is based on four principles: efficient design, maximum flexibility, optimum location and comfortable standard.”
The number of technical and technological measures can increase the energy efficiency of a building by dozens of percent. Good examples of these are: quality heat-isolation building materials, outdoor shading, glass façade and windows covered by a special film that deflects sun beams and limits interior heat, sophisticated systems that manage the sensitive control of the buildings´ microclimate (heating, cooling and air-conditioning), sensory LED lighting, control of potable water consumption and the preferred use of rain water when possible and appropriate.
Digital Communications Manager at JLL
Markéta Miková has been with JLL since 2011, having served as Head of Marketing and Public Relations between 2011 and 2013 and as of 2016 as Digital Communications Manager (on a part-time basis). She has ten-year experience in public relations and marketing working for AMI Communications (leading Czech PR agency) and King Sturge (property consultants).