Czech It Out - Green Buildings: Lessons Learned and Expectations Going Forward

Written by Bert Hesselink
Operations Director, CBRE Czech Republic

This month a suite of attendees gathered in Prague to discuss green commercial buildings and associated office space. Hosted by the Real Estate Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic (AmCham), the format was a panel debate, with representatives across the real estate mix including developers, investors, occupiers, lawyers and green building professionals.

Participants included the Czech Green Building Council (CZGBC), CTP (the largest developer and investor in commercial real estate in the Czech Republic), Kinstellar who specialise in green leases and the Chairman of AmCham itself.

Top of the agenda was to educate attendees, particularly occupiers, about the benefits of green buildings.

Stefan de Goeij at CTP spoke positively from the developer’s perspective:

“We definitely believe that the importance (of green buildings) will increase and will retain value for our portfolio in the future. On our recent new office development in Brno during the construction phase we decided to shift from BREEAM Excellent to Outstanding. The additional costs for us were apparent, however, this asset will benefit in the longer term as a result.”

Michaela Nedorostová, Sustainability Consultant at CBRE supported this approach:

“Major institutional investors have a policy to invest in green buildings because they believe it will enhance the value of their portfolio. Essentially, investing in green buildings appeals to the full range of investors as it’s 100% inclusive”

“Currently, developers tend to complete the green certification for an office building. It is evident more interaction and education is needed between property managers and occupiers to use the building in the right way. This gap is an opportunity for us all to move the development of green office buildings to the next level.”

Other discussions noted the need to quantify the advantages, with more knowledge sharing with the public at large, to support the inclusion of sustainability criteria in occupiers space considerations.

Lawyer, Jan Lehký, at Kinstellar noted the potential for green leases to drive change across the property industry:

“Green leases could be a solution which ensures both parties (landlord and tenant) work together to enable occupiers to reap the benefits of occupying green office space. Green leases have yet to arrive in the Czech Republic but have proven successful in France for example. In France, they are enforced by law which helps to improve the performance and use of green buildings.”

In conclusion, much is still to be done to build a more sustainable environment for all. However, research shows that employee productivity increases for companies when occupying LEED certified buildings which is hugely encouraging.

Going forward, a core task will be to share green building expertise with the wider public and put it into practice through education and closer collaboration between investors and occupiers of green buildings. This will result in greater demand for green buildings to enable a healthier and more sustainable world to work, live and relax.