Green buildings on the rise in Romania
Bucharest, Romania -- On the 25th September, 2019, SGS Romania held a green building event in partnership with the Romanian Green Building Council and thinkstep. The event explored the challenges and opportunities for the green building market in Romania through case studies and presentations from experts in the field.
Romania has a big potential for greening. As a member of the European Union, Romania has committed to ambitious carbon reductions to meet the Paris Agreement. The built environment contributes over 30 percent of global emissions, so achieving reductions in buildings is a significant portion of a country’s national determined contributions.
One innovative approach to do so is to build resource-efficient buildings using Excellence In Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE), a free software tool and green building standard designed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank Group. EDGE calculates a “basecase” that informs users of the impact of their project, if it is designed to standard practice and local codes. There is data for over 150 countries around the world, making it a localised comparison. A menu of green features then provides a simple way of calculating the impact of various scenarios, calculating the “improved case” for resource efficiency, the carbon reductions, as well as providing an estimate of the incremental costs and return on investment.
EDGE is already being used today in the Romanian market. Most recently, two buildings owned by Renault were certified using the EDGE standard. The project was developed by Globalworth, the leader of the office market in Romania and Poland, and supported by Build Green, a leading consultancy in sustainable building design, development and certification in Central and Eastern Europe. What was unique about this project, said Razvan Nica, Managing Director at Build Green, was that it didn’t employ cutting-edge technology. Rather, by designing the building with resource-efficiency in mind from the beginning, the developers were able to build a highly resource-efficient, simple project that achieved dual certification – EDGE and BREEAM.
There are still some obstacles to growing the market in Romania, primarily centred around education and appropriate incentives. During a panel discussion at the event, Razvan Nica from Building Green, Dr. Dorin Beu from the Romanian Green Building Council and Eleni Polychroniadou from thinkstep, delved into challenges around having a skilled workforce to deliver green buildings and building trust and credibility in green certification programs in Romania. There was also discussion around government and financial incentives to stimulate growth. There are several banks already offering green financing and several cities around the county offer tax relief for green-certified buildings, but more needs to be done to support green buildings.
But green buildings are not the end of the road, but rather the beginning. As highlighted by Dr. Dorin Beu, president of the Romanian Green Building Council, we need to be thinking to the next phase of buildings. Thinking green is an important first step to ensuring that every building meets certain standards, but the end goal is developing regenerative buildings that are sustainable and look at environmental issues holistically.