Although they are generally aware of the advantages of sustainable building, many players in the Polish real estate market still think it is more costly than it really is.
A new survey by Colliers International Poland, “Is the grass greener for green building certifications?” completed in April 2012 with the participation of 65 developers, building owners and major tenants, found that 52 percent of respondents believe that green buildings cost significantly more to build than conventional buildings.
But Colliers estimates that in the CEE region, most green buildings cost just over 1 percent more to build.
“I am not surprised at this result, because that’s what we hear most often. We need to show real examples of green buildings throughout the region so that this misconception fades away. The good news is, with so many new projects in Poland we won’t be lacking examples,” said Devin Saylor, head of Colliers’ green certification services for the CEE region.
According to Ulrich Schweig, head of technology center sustainable construction at Strabag, the sooner sustainable solutions are incorporated into a project, the easier and cheaper it is.
“The biggest problem we have is that as a contractor we get ready plans and then the client says he wants to achieve a certain level of certification,” he said.
Part of the belief that green must be expensive is also attributable to the fact that many Polish players think green building materials are difficult to find in Eastern Europe and are more expensive. As many as 74 percent of respondents to Colliers’ survey said they believed this.
“I was very surprised. Although distributors and producers need to make themselves more widely known, sustainable building materials including cleaning products, concrete, glass, and paints are already widely available in Poland. Moreover, products are considered to be “local” in an 800-km radius from the project site, which in Poland’s case includes Germany and many other CEE countries,” said Ms Saylor.
Proof that more and more people recognize certain advantages of sustainable building, however, is that as many as 92 percent of respondents correctly said that green buildings can cost less to operate and maintain, and sell for more than non-green buildings.
One example of this is Rondo 1 in Warsaw, which reduced its running costs by 15 percent with a relatively small investment to achieve LEED Gold certification in 2011, according to Karol Bartos, managing director Poland at MGPA.
“I think it’s good news that people recognize the added value of green buildings, because now it’s a matter of understanding costs, and then there is really no objection to building green,” said Ms Saylor.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Alice Trudelle
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