An energy efficiency benchmark for Poland

Pioneering report “Business for Climate. Operating Costs of Office Buildings” launched in Warsaw.

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The report is available in English and Polish

The report is a European scale publication which compares energy consumption by certified and non-certified office buildings in the Polish marketplace and also highlights best practice of companies involved in addressing climate change. The study, carried out by key real estate players in Poland, provided the first and only such analysis, based on energy consumption data from 48 office buildings. It is a first step in building an energy efficiency benchmark for Poland.

Energy cost typically accounts for the largest proportion of a building’s operating costs. As a result the real estate market is constantly looking for ways to lower this cost, for example by means of ecological certification. Is this really an effective way to reduce the energy expenses? The working group conducting the study tried to answer this very question. As part of the previous Operating Costs of Office Buildings project the group analysed electrical and thermal energy consumption and utility water usage for all 12 months of 2014. The sample comprised 26 buildings with LEED or BREEAM certificate, which is 17.5% of all the certified office buildings in Poland (at the point of collecting the data), and 22 non-certified buildings.

It is possible that the behaviour of tenants and building managers has a larger impact on resource consumption than its structural characteristics.
Nikodem Szumiło, University of Cambridge

Key findings and conclusions

The study, its results and conclusion attracted widespread attention from real estate experts in Europe. “The most basic expectation of a cost benefit resulting from resource conservation remains difficult to show. In fact, some reports indicate that a higher consumption of energy and water may be associated with sustainability certification. It is possible that the behaviour of tenants and building managers has a larger impact on resource consumption than its structural characteristics. The data collected for this project appears to confirm that perspective” – Nikodem Szumiło, PhD, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge comments.

The working group members have no doubts about the study continuation perspective. The pilot study’s findings form the perfect basis for the extension of the research. All the more so that the consistent dynamic development of the real estate market, including green certification sector, enables access to wider data. The extension of our research tool would also increase the chance to demonstrate certain dependencies between office buildings and their operating costs.” concludes Piotr Strzyżewski, Technical Specialist, SPIE Polska.

The entities involved in developing the methodology objectives, plus the sample and collected data analysis, were key players in the market of office buildings. These companies were: SPIE Polska (project coordinator), Buro Happold, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Knight Frank, National Energy Conservation Agency S.A., Savills Property Management and Skanska Property Poland, who all cooperated within wider imitative ‘Analysing the sustainable construction market in Poland’, led by Construction Marketing Group.

In 2013 we initiated “Analysing the Sustainable Construction” project with the aim of conducting a current perception survey about the value of green building and then we focused on the most important areas of green building such as health & wellbeing and resource use by certified and non-certified buildings.
Katarzyna Chwalbińska-Kusek, Buro Happold

We hope that this analysis of resource use by certified and non-certified buildings will allow the market to build an energy efficiency benchmark for Poland – says Katarzyna Chwalbińska – Kusek, founder of Construction Marketing Group, co-chair of EEB Platform Poland, Marketing & Business Development Manager in Buro Happold.

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Previous research

The study Operating Costs of Office Buildings was presented for the first time at the international conference Business for Climate, which took place in Warsaw, June 2016. The aim of the event was a discussion about COP 21 commitments and their possible and probable impacts on business. The invited guests and numerous attendants aimed to answer the questions: ‘Will the COP21 commitments boost energy efficiency in the building market?’, ‘How to use power consumption data in practice?’, ‘Which best practices do businesses implement in the Polish market?’.

The event partners were: Akzo Nobel Decorative Paintings, Armstrong Polska, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Buro Happold, all companies that take care of the environment. These companies’ representatives shared the best practices from their organizations in the Polish market: recycling, projects reducing gas emission, sustainable production, effective use of existing resources, solutions reducing negative impact, internal campaigns and ensuring top quality working environments.

Care for the environment is the joint responsibility of politicians, cities and businesses.”
Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw.

The role of cities and multi-stakeholder platforms, like the EEB Platform Poland, shall be key for this. They perform a critical coordination role, which the market does not naturally provide – to align initiatives and increase awareness as well as knowledge sharing.”
Roland Hunziker, Director Sustainable Buildings and Cities, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

“The pioneering projects, such as Business for Climate conference and Operating Costs of Office Buildings study drew a lot of interest and are an example of the shift in the attitudes of building owners, tenants and employees towards climate change.”
Aneta Kłodaś, Managing Director, Bluevine Consulting, co-organiser of Business for Climate.

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The report is available in English and Polish

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