Five leading international firms to develop a global environmental rating of existing buildings

AEW Europe, AXA REIM, Bureau Veritas, GE Real Estate Europe and ING Real Estate announce a common initiative to appraise the environmental performance of commercial properties across Europe.

Identifying a gap in the market, the five leading international firms are currently working on a Global Green Rating approach to help Owners and Property Managers assess, rate and benchmark the environmental performance of their existing properties. The main aspects of a building's use are evaluated and supported by tangible and measurable indicators: energy, carbon, water, waste, health and transport. The rating can then be used to monitor performance improvement at an asset level and a portfolio level.

"What is remarkable is that the asset performance is assessed on site by an independent third party and can thus provide a sound and concrete decision making tool for improvement actions. Furthermore, this rating will allow us to give evidence of the actual progress achieved year by year and will concern 95% of our real estate portfolios", said Gilles Bouteloup, Global Head of Compliance and Sustainable Development at AXA REIM.

The audit methodology is being developed, tested and readjusted on real cases, through 15 pilot sites in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

"There is a strong requirement for a global and objective assessment scheme on existing commercial properties, allowing consistent and homogeneous appraisals across countries. From this perspective, Europe in its diversity offers a good ground for experimentation", commented Ken Smith, Business Director Environmental Management, Sustainability and Risk at Bureau Veritas. "This also helps us build a common language with our asset and property managers, as well as with our clients", added Caroline Allingri, Environment Manager at AEW Europe.

The approach aims at being pragmatic and result-oriented. "To be fully operational and applicable to a wide range of asset portfolios, the tool needs to be simple, cost effective and fast to deploy. This is what we want to validate through the current pilot audits", confirmed Leo Weidenaar, Fund Director of the ING Logistics Property Fund Europe, the ING Real Estate European Industrial Fund and the ING Real Estate European Office Fund.

"The initiative covers hence a real need that is not addressed so far by existing green labels, mostly domestic, heavier to implement and mainly focused on new-builds", completed Gabor Kende, Engineering Manager Europe at GE Real Estate.

Depending on the outcomes, the partners will consider to launch an open scheme for Global Green Rating before the end of 2008.

Source: AEW Europe, AXA REIM, Bureau Veritas, GE Real Estate Europe, ING Real Estate

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