The European real estate developer Codic has just been awarded the very first environmental certification using the BREEAM Europe for Offices 2008 method for its Access and Bridge buildings at the Atlantis development in Brussels.
Codic's Atlantis development in Brussels.
While it is usually the public sector that leads the way on early certifications such as these, in this specific case, it is two private players, Codic and UBS, who are setting the trend this time around.
"The way we see it," says Thierry Behiels, CEO Codic International, "BREEAM is not a totally new approach as such, because the environment has always been a feature of the fundamental criteria we apply. However, it does form part of the development of the standards established by the EU and enables their sustainable nature to be put into perspective.
"In view of the proliferation of labels, BREEAM also offers the advantage of being international and meeting the requirements of foreign clients. Today, BREEAM is demonstrating that it is the certification most in tune with our job as property developers. Our aim is not to develop an experimental building, nor is it simply to demonstrate the technology available. What we are seeking to do, building by building, is to achieve the best development possible that blends energy-related imperatives with economic requirements, comfort and convenience."
When times are tough, buildings with certifications such as BREEAM are more likely to be preferred by investors, who see them as a good way of generating long-term savings. In this case, Codic is backed by a top-drawer investor: UBS Real Estate.
"In the case of Atlantis, our aim in conjunction with UBS as the main investor, is to take an objective view the environmental performance of a project designed some time ago and only now being brought on-stream," continues Mr Behiels. "We have been impressed by the results achieved so far in terms of the quality of the direction taken and the choices made.
"In the future, BREEAM may well be used as an aid for assisting in the design and selection of projects, both for investors, who take a long-term view of things, and for developers, who look more in the medium term. This multi-criteria approach is an essential tool that our group is extremely interested in."