Sustainability. Based on Responsibility
In an era when climate change is accelerating and global resources are in ever shorter supply, the concept of sustainability is imprinting itself inexorably upon our minds.
When peak oil is imminent and water is becoming the most valuable commodity on earth, when more than half of all resources available in the world are still consumed by the building sector and more than 40% of energy consumption is used for heating, sustainable thinking and acting becomes a duty, especially in the real estate sector. Because properties have such long life cycles, real estate lends itself ideally to a sustainable approach.
As Switzerland’s largest builder-owner, Credit Suisse Real Estate Investment Management acts with the future in mind. In keeping with the guiding principle of incorporating sustainable thinking into society, the economy and the environment, and also into Credit Suisse’s own business practice, Credit Suisse Real Estate Investment Management sets an example by living up to its responsibilities. Credit Suisse Real Estate Investment Management is convinced that a sustainable approach to real estate has now become an essential requirement.
Sustainable building creates the conditions to face ecological, economic and social challenges – now and in the future. And as time goes on, sustainability criteria will be applied as the most important yardstick not only for green properties, but also for profitable real estate investments. This is why Credit Suisse Real Estate Investment Management initiated and implemented the first Swiss quality seal for sustainable real estate: greenproperty.
The Quality Seal. That Makes a Real Impact.
For the first time, Switzerland has a comprehensive label that rates the sustainability of real estate on an integral basis. Greenproperty was developed by Credit Suisse Real Estate Investment Management in collaboration with Amstein + Walthert, a Zurich-based engineering and planning practice.
CS Real Estate Investment Management embarked on its endeavor to implement sustainable building projects some years ago. Back in 2002, the Leonardo commercial building in Zurich-Oerlikon set a milestone in the history of construction: when it was opened, Leonardo was the largest Minergie building in Switzerland. Then, in 2006, the first apartment building to meet the Minergie-P standard was completed: the Eichgut in Winterthur. These projects were followed by many energy-optimized properties with an investment volume in the billions, at strong locations in Swiss metropolitan areas. As such, sustainable building is not a fundamentally new concept for Credit Suisse as a real estate investor.
The purpose of creating the quality seal was not to re-invent sustainability in the real estate sector. The challenge was to evaluate and compare leading Swiss and foreign assessment methods and to integrate them where practical. greenproperty is based on the comprehensive recommendations of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects in SIA publication 112/1: Sustainable Building – Structural Engineering. The seal incorporates all or part of the standards for the well-known Minergie/Minergie-P and Minergie-ECO/ P-ECO labels. However, greenproperty applies a more comprehensive but nevertheless highly practical assessment that ensures maximum applicability for the sustainability check.
Sustainable Benefits. For the Masses
The quality seal shows how ideal values can be turned into real values for the various parties involved. Initial Swiss and international studies show that sustainability pays off in the real estate sector. This is because a property that can meet future requirements minimizes the risk of value losses due to future developments, while maximizing the opportunity for value gains. Although sustainable construction may costs more initially, it pays off in the long term because energy, waste disposal and water costs are generally lower, as are overall running and maintenance costs. Moreover, because these buildings are more attractive to tenants, they ensure excellent potential for first-time rental and lower loss of income when they are re-rented. The higher quality of the fittings and better standards of comfort in sustainable buildings also meet the expectations of the general public, which is becoming increasingly aware of health-related and environmental aspects.