The impact of the built environment on the planet is significant. The global cement industry alone is responsible for between 4% and 8% of global CO2 emissions. To minimise this negative environmental impact, the construction and real estate industries must find ways to remove carbon-intensive and polluting materials from the design process, replace them with sustainable alternatives, and be receptive to existing and emerging green initiatives.
According to GlobalData’s ESG – Top Trends by Sector report (November 2021), early engagement with all stakeholders, including suppliers, subcontractors, and local communities, is key to helping construction companies meet their sustainability targets. Those that understand and engage with environmental, social and governmental (ESG) initiatives now, as well as demonstrate their ability and willingness to the cause at the tender stage, will win more contracts and turn more profits.
Adhering to environmental certifications or frameworks may not only help improve compliance with the increasingly complex environmental regulatory market, but will also allow access to green finance and attract new tenants and investors.
Getting green certified
Environmental certifications are different from environmental regulations, in that the former are often optional. It is predicted that the number of certified built assets will continue to increase in the pursuit of future-proofing portfolios as well as to meet the rising demand for sustainable buildings.
These certifications can provide guidelines for sustainable construction with minimal environmental impact. Framework considerations can include everything from waste management to the use of sustainable building materials and energy generation, and different certifications each have different goals.
The Green Building Council (GBC) along with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system was created to standardise the way energy usage, materials performance and building-related environmental issues are measured. GBC’s quantitative paradigms enable objective and comparative measurements for assessing the environmental performance of buildings, both nationally and internationally. In addition to ecological factors, GBC also considers the societal and economic impact of a building, in line with ESG business strategies.
GBC processes are performance-based systems focused on the three pillars: society, economy and ecology. The assessment is carried out by an accredited organisation, which can grant silver, gold, or platinum certification. The system also provides recognition and a competitive advantage to buildings that achieve higher standards of sustainability and support to the community.
Once attained, certification can play a key role in increasing rental value and reducing vacancy rates, resulting in an increasing number of building owners and investors willing to invest CAPEX to achieve their GBC goals.
Working with the right partners on construction projects is essential to improving certification scores in all three pillars, and investors should look to suppliers with a proven track record. eyrise, a producer of dynamic liquid crystal glazing, offers a solution to reach these GBC objectives and help operators to increase their certification level.
Swiss Prime Site Immobilien AG (SPS), for example, turned to the sustainable switchable glass manufacturer to support its environmental certification goals for the renovation of its Müllerstrasse building in Zurich, due for completion at the end of 2023. Formed in 1999, SPS is the largest real estate group in Switzerland, managing a property portfolio valued at CHF 12.8 billion (1). With a strategy that places sustainability at its centre, the company has continuously expanded its portfolio through a series of acquisitions and developments, with the goal for each to become green building certified.
To fulfil this strategy and meet Swiss Sustainable Building Standards (SNBS) for the Müllerstrasse project, SPS chose eyrise s350 Instant Solar Shading Glass. eyrise will play an important role in attaining these certifications by scoring points across all three components of the GBC philosophy.
eyrise’s s350 Instant Solar Shading Glass has long been considered a key offering in the sustainable construction space. It achieves this reputation by offering uninterrupted views in its clear state and permanent access to daylight, a requirement by SNBS, as well as high-performing energy efficiency.
The innovative product also offers a range of ESG-compliant benefits, including improving the wellness of building occupants through thermal protection properties in summer and winter, individual occupant light and heat control, reduced predicted percentage dissatisfaction (PPD) from 21% to 6%, and better acoustic insulation and ventilation.
Economically, eyrise also scores highly due to no maintenance costs, and provides local economic value creation by manufacturing its products in Europe, which meets standards set out by SNBS. It gains another point for its integrative processes by utilising glazing with protective functions for heat and energy reductions.
Ultimately, eyrise glass is designed with sustainability in mind. Its production site in Veldhoven uses 100% renewable energy and throughout all construction and renovation projects, it improves ecology scores by eliminating the need for unnecessary construction materials (such as those requiring sun protection structures) and waste reduction (such as packaging materials), as well as recycling any unwanted glass.
Once installed, eyrise glass is a non-emitting material throughout its total life cycle and its low maintenance requirements reduce the need for hazardous cleaning products. A significant benefit of eyrise glass is its ability to help building owners reduce energy consumption. The dynamic crystal façade glass reduces heat inside buildings on hot days and retains heat in cooler climates, so less energy is spent on internal temperature control.
Overall, eyrise offers a significant impact in increasing society, economy and ecology scores, and contributing to SNBS, WELL, LEED, HQE, and DGNB standards being met. Improving the wellness of building occupants, lowering maintenance costs, and reducing HVAC energy consumption are just some of the ways that eyrise can increase a building’s worth with green building certifications.
For investors, working with eyrise and its innovative solutions means a clearer route to green certification, a status which increases the attractiveness of a building and therefore raises its value. For SPS, for example, the Müllerstrasse site’s strong ESG credentials helped it to secure a long-term rental agreement with Google at a premium price.
Ultimately, those that engage with sustainable building materials and processes such as eyrise solar shading glass, create more opportunities to win key contracts and boost profits, while simultaneously fulfilling investor-attracting ESG initiatives.
To find out more about green certification and the benefits it can deliver for your project, download the whitepaper below.