"Varma's goal is to continuously develop the energy efficiency of the properties that it owns, in order to reduce the carbon footprint, amongst other things. In our corporate accountability program, we have committed to preventing climate change. Environmental classifications are a concrete way to develop the accountability of properties," says the Leasing Director, Toni Pekonen.
BREEAM* is an environmental classification for buildings and construction projects, with which the accountability of properties can be assessed through uniform methods. The areas under scrutiny include energy efficiency, waste sorting and recycling possibilities and also the location, i.e. whether the site is near good services and mass transportation routes and how cycling is supported, for example in premises solutions. Other things related to the well-being of users, such as the possibility to affect the interior conditions of the properties, are also examined in the certification requirements.
"The certificate is a generally recognized guarantee that attention has been paid to accountability in the property. Certification is also a good tool for developing the maintenance and upkeep procedures of a property," says Toni Pekonen.
"Reassessment of the certification of a site is done at three-years intervals. Between the assessments, development measures can be carried out and the certification level can possibly be raised," adds Johanna Haikala, a Senior Analyst at Varma.
In July 2017, the following four shopping centers got the certification, of which Willa in Hyvinkää got a rating of Very Good and the other shopping malls attained the level of Good.
Syke shopping centre (Kauppakatu 18, Lahti)
Palokka shopping centre (Saarijärventie 50-52, Jyväskylä)
Keljo shopping centre (Kylmälahdentie 6, Jyväskylä)
Willa shopping centre (Hämeenkatu 9, Hyvinkää)
In November 2017, the following six office buildings got the certification. All the properties obtained the classification of Good.
Hatanpään valtatie 20, Tampere
Hämeenkatu 9, Tampere
Visiokatu 6, Tampere
Itämerenkatu 11-13, Helsinki
Malminkatu 28, Helsinki
Robert Huberin tie 3 B, Vantaa
It is specified in Varma's climate policy that the company's most significant buildings will be certified principally in accordance with the BREEAM environment classification by 2025. The goal is to attain at least the Good or Very Good rating. Varma has around twenty certified properties at the moment and the aim is to increase the number by at least ten every year. Varma has chosen the British BREEAM classification instead of the American LEED certification system because it can be applied to Nordic conditions in a better way.
"A BREEAM certificate will be obtained directly for all new premises and commercial building sites, and for major complete renovation sites as well. When it is planned sensibly, meeting the requirements does not significantly increase the cost of construction," says Pekonen.
"Certificates are important for a real estate investor and, in the case of newbuild sites, these days often even a requirement for deals. They affect the determination of the value of properties," says Pekonen.
* Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method