Property sector in Romania accelerates transition to low carbon development

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 29/09/2022 | 12:09

Companies in the real estate ecosystem are pushing investments in sustainability in a bid to reach carbon neutrality, an effort that should translate into benefits for users across all categories of buildings ranging from apartments to offices, concluded speakers in the sustainable urban developments and smart communities of BR’s Environmental & Sustainability Summit 2022.

By Ovidiu Posirca



Tinu Sebesanu, CEO at IMPACT Developer & Contractor, pointed out that the developer has embraced the environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework early on as the developer looks to enhance the lifestyle of their communities of residents.
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Incentivizing buyers and developers of green homes

Tinu Sebesanu, IMPACT Developer & Contractor

“Soon we will need to see incentives for buyers to come into sustainable residential communities,” said Sebesanu. He explained that this effort has to be split between the private developers and the state. For instance, buyers of green homes could get some tax breaks to spur further investments in sustainable properties. “And the government will have to cover part of these efforts.” He added.

Financial institutions are finally providing a viable green home mortgage solution, added Alex Skouras, managing partner at Alesonor. The company is currently developing a suburb of villas near Bucharest that meet the NZEB energy standards. The project Amber Forest includes over 500 green villas and 200 green apartments, developed on 31 hectares, with only 15% of the built area, with the lowest land use coefficient.

Alex Skouras, Alesonor

“Authorities need to provide incentives for developers and buyers of sustainable homes,” said Skouras. “Financial institutions are finally providing a viable green home financing product.” He added.

Elsewhere, Romanian developer One United Properties has a pipeline of 4,000 residential units that will included in green buildings. The company has taken a similar approach to its office projects that will also be certified as green.

Beatrice Dumitrascu, One United Properties

“We have a pipeline of 4,000 residential units that will be in green buildings. We need to be sustainable, it is not a luxury,” said Beatrice Dumitrascu, CEO residential division at One United Properties. She added that mixed-use projects can cater for the wellbeing of communities.

Oana Stamatin, ESG Chief Officer, CEE & Romania at Colliers, suggested that projects including office and residential are good for communities.

At present, half of the projects that BTDConstruct & Ambient is working on will have green certification and all have sustainability elements embedded in.

Razvan Parvulescu, BTDConstruct & Ambient

“The construction is by its own nature a significant consumer of resources. Last year we managed to recycle more than 2,000 tonnes of materials including steel and wood,” explained Razvan Parvulescu, head of business development at BTDConstruct & Ambient.

Going forward, the construction company will continue to digitize its operations. This will include the implementation of a BIM system that will streamline the relation with all specialists involved in a real estate project from architects to engineers and suppliers of materials.

Property developer Skanska is also looking to reuse and recycle as many materials as it can, especially for brownfield developments.

Raoul Mihalca, Skanska

“We have been implementing for a long time measures for green buildings, from internal air quality to recycling materials,” said Raoul Mihalca, project manager at Skanska. There are a lot of products and strategies to adopt when you want to make sure the building activity is as clean as possible, according to Mihalca.

Energy efficient materials and buildings needed to meet EU’s carbon neutrality objective

Meanwhile, the construction materials producer Holcim aims to reach net zero by 2050. Their efforts were started in 2019 and a roadmap for decarbonation was presented in 2021.

Marius Dumitrescu, Holcim

“In our portfolio in Romania we brought a green concrete product that is already used by developers. We are looking to cut CO2 coming from transportation and energy usage,” said Marius Dumitrescu, National Civil Buildings Solutions and Promotions Manager at Holcim.

“We aim to double the quantity of reused materials. We are accelerating our transition, but we need to have this at country level,” he added. As a trend, he mentioned the increasing awareness of embodied carbon associated with the construction of buildings.

Oana Stamatin, Colliers

“A mindset change is needed for the buyer to look at the entire lifecycle of a home.” Says Oana Stamatin. “When we talk about sustainability we talk about low carbon but also about health and wellbeing.” She added. Mitigating climate change and reducing carbon emissions is a priority of the EU, also commented Colliers’ Stamatin. In fact, Europe aims to be the first carbon neutral continent by 2050.

Increasing the efficiency of the current and future stock of buildings will be crucial to meet this target. The CEO of IMPACT Developer & Contractor suggested that the city hall should refuse in the permitting phase projects that do not meet nearly Zero-Energy Building (nZEB) goals. This standard is mandatory for all new buildings that receive construction authorizations, although authorities should check its implementation.

Miruna Vlad, senior associate data protection and environmental law practice at NNDKP, explained that the current legislative framework is on a good path and there are initiatives of great practice.

Miruna Vlad, NNDKP

“The current legislative framework is on a good path and there are initiatives of great practice. Equal rules are needed to achieve sustainable growth targets,” she explained. According to Vlad, the legislation of waste management needs to be adapted in a bid to help companies meet their sustainability objectives.

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