BREEAM for residental buildings

Certification depending on function

The number of buildings in Poland that undergo environmental certification is quickly growing. 58% of such structures are office buildings. Other buildings that are frequently certified include commercial buildings and industrial and warehouse buildings (according to the PLGBC report, “Polish certified green buildings in numbers”).
However, office buildings are by far the dominant type of green buildings. This is understandable considering the clients that look for certified office areas. They are usually large companies who try to adapt to the latest trends. In this sector, LEED and BREEAM certificates have become somewhat of a quality mark that stands for a clearly determined level of the building. The tenants know that such buildings will provide high-quality office areas, and the requirements for the energy efficiency of the entire building will enable a reduction of costs related to utility consumption. Also commercial and industrial buildings are sought by large clients that keep a close eye on the competition and may view the certificates as a way to gain an edge on the market.

Why are residential buildings not as popular?

However, no residential developments or buildings can be found in such lists. For such projects, the situation is slightly different from the situation of the office buildings due to their potential buyer – an individual client for whom certificates are usually little more than enigmatic acronyms. To them, the price and location of the apartment within the town are the most important factors. The immediate surroundings are also becoming increasingly important: access to schools, green areas or public transport.

First green residential building in Poland

In August 2016, the BREEAM certificate with the Good rating was awarded for a residential building in Poland for the first time. The certificate was issued for a residential development constructed in Warsaw by SKANSKA. The estate will meet a number of requirements imposed by the British certification system. These include (among others) matters related to the use of safe and healthy materials, solutions ensuring energy and water efficiency and high-quality finish of the apartments. The project itself is also well situated in the city and ensures the availability of most important services and public transport. Several non-standard solutions have been used here as well, e.g., bike repair and washing station using rainwater or a central water softening system reducing the wear of household appliances and increasing water efficiency.

Opportunities for the development of BREEAM for residential projects

Considering the continuously growing environmental awareness in Poland, green residential buildings have a high potential for growth. Builders should pay attention to matters important to the individual client. Consequently, it will be important to point out the potential economic benefits, i.e., savings, to the residents of the given building over the years. For many clients, health-related matters – e.g., suitable abundance of vegetation and recreation areas in the vicinity, non-toxic materials and apartment layout with good daylighting – will be equally important.

Certificates for green building guarantee that the real estate developer actually offers high-quality apartments instead of empty slogans in the advertising folder. That is why it is important to emphasize to the client that the award of the certificate was the result of a thorough verification and conformity to stringent requirements.

The Green360° blog has been created to provide educational content and aid the development of the industry of certified sustainable construction. Green360° is the publishing part of JW+A.

Green360° will contain practical information and studies relating to LEED and BREEAM certification and facts from the commercial real estate market.

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