Energy Efficiency Crucial for a Successful Office Project


Szervita Square Building by DVM group.

In the current environment, energy efficiency is becoming ever more critical when letting or selling an asset. The location and services provided are also important and decisive factors, but significantly higher energy costs could force many tenants to move to a more efficient building, argues Edina Hornok, sustainability director at DVM group.

“Energy efficiency is only one of many different aspects of the accreditation systems – besides health and wellbeing, material use, or pollution-related issues – but it plays the most important role when assessing a building,” she tells Green Matters.

“It accounts for 30% of the total points of Leed, and 20% of Breeam, although the Well standard does not assess energy efficiency because it focuses on the health and wellbeing of building users,” she said.

Sustainability and financial concerns are seen as overlapping from the perspective of office owners when it comes to energy use. Landlords are forced to reduce energy use to keep tenants, and the measures implemented to achieve this, such as improved mechanical systems or harvesting renewable energy, will also enhance sustainability.

On the role of property management and facility management with regard to energy efficiency, Hornok sees PM and FM as being responsible for the maintenance and improvement of the building’s components and energy-related systems.

Proper maintenance (like seasonal commissioning, adjustments or cleaning) can help ensure more efficient operation of the systems.

Edina Hornok, sustainability director at DVM group

An Impact Inside and Out

Significantly, energy concerns are also impacting both exterior and interior design when it comes to offices.

“Energy efficiency can be influenced by the building’s shape, orientation, glazed areas or external shading systems, and renewable systems can also be installed on the exterior of a building,” Hornok explains. “The mechanical and lighting systems are visible inside, so the chosen systems will somewhat influence the interior design,” she adds.

Offices can be made more livable for tenants in terms of heating and air quality by creating separate heating zones and installing individual thermal controls for temperature or airspeed to ensure greater comfort. High-efficiency air filters, CO2 sensors, demand-controlled ventilation, and healthy interior materials can all help to improve air quality.

The improvements and percentage of savings that can be achieved through the use of sustainability, energy, and climate consultants vary greatly, depending on the size or scope of the project. DVM, for example, has worked on buildings where 25-30% of energy savings were achieved with the help of dynamic energy simulation.

Rising energy prices could be regarded as “favorable” to the extent that they force office owners to be more concerned with sustainability and energy efficiency.

“Further, developers are forced to adapt and implement energy-efficient solutions in order to attract tenants and be competitive. At DVM group, we use dynamic energy simulation to assess different building energy concepts and thus support developers to find the ideal, cost-effective solution,” Hornok concludes.

Szervita Square Building interior by DVM group.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of October 21, 2022.

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