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U.K.’s Breeam Accreditation Dominates CEE Office Markets

Sustainability

The Port7 office building developed by Skanska in Prague. Skanska uses the Leed accreditation system in its portfolio.

The U.K.-based Breeam is the third-party sustainability accreditation system of choice with office developers in Central Europe, according to Colliers CEE research. This is followed by the U.S.-based Leed, with the two systems dominating the regional markets. Analysts argue that a more standardized approach or framework is needed, the direction for which is already being set within the new EU Taxonomy framework.

“To provide an overview of where we stand today in terms of green centers in the regional capital city markets, we have analyzed the split of Breeam, DGNB, Edge and Leed certifications that have been obtained in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Sofia and Warsaw,” says Colliers in its publication “The Journey Towards ESG Compliance 2022-2023.”

Breeam dominates Leed in all markets, with the exception of Sofia. In Bratislava, Breeam represents 68% of office accreditations compared to 32% Leed. In the Hungarian capital, 74% of office centers are Breeam, compared to 26% Leed. Warsaw is also highly weighted towards Breeam, with 78% of offices having obtained its certification against 22% for Leed.

“Looking at the distribution of green certification schemes in each capital city, we notice that Breeam is currently most preferred in Warsaw, followed by Budapest, Bratislava and Prague. Sofia is an exception, with approximately 60% of the office buildings being Leed certified, while in Bucharest, there is a fine balance between them.”

Overall, Bucharest has the greenest office market in terms of certified stock, followed by Budapest and Warsaw.

Mobility Assoc. Pushes Fast Rollout of EV Charging Points

The Future Mobility Association has urged a faster buildup of charging infrastructure to keep up with the sharp increase in the number of electric vehicles on Hungarian roads, according to state news agency MTI. The association noted that there were 2,147 public charging stations in Hungary at the end of 2022, 14% more than a year earlier. During the same period, the number of EVs climbed close to 50%, it added.

Business Park Achieves Breeam ‘Very Good’ Accreditation

Developer Wing’s East Gate Pro Business Park has achieved a Breeam “Very Good” new construction rating for the A1-B1 buildings, representing the first fully let phase of the industrial development. Wing has emphasized the sustainability of the materials used in construction and energy usage at the complex. Sustainability accreditation has now become the norm at the higher end of the industrial market across Hungary and the CEE region, as was already the case in the office market, in response to tenant demand and EU environmental regulations. East Gate Pro consists of 60,000 sqm of space in three halls at the junction of the M0 and M3 motorways.

Well ‘Platinum’ Target for Academia Center

ConvergenCE is aiming to achieve Well “Platinum” certification for its 12,5000 sqm Academia office renovation and redevelopment. The office and common areas have been designed, and technical provisions in the project match sustainability expectations and regulations, according to the company. “From the drawing board, we have strived to combine our client-centric thinking and services with solutions that differentiate the Academia office center from the rest of the market. We are aiming to achieve the Well ‘Platinum’ certification for the first time in the city center, and we are the first who obtained the WiredScore rating in Hungary,” said Csaba Zeley, managing director of ConvergenCE.

Sunwoda Invests in new Battery Manufacturing Plant

Chinese battery manufacturer Sunwoda is investing HUF 580 billion in a new battery-making factory in Nyíregyháza that will create several thousand new jobs. The firm is one of the top 10 battery manufacturers in the world, and Hungary is now the fourth largest producer of EV batteries globally.

76,000 EVs Registered in Hungary

As of the summer, there are now 76,000 electric vehicles registered in Hungary with green number plates, according to the Ministry of Energy. Launched in 2015, the green number plate scheme applies to vehicles that are fully electric and hybrids, depending on the distance they can travel. As of July, full EVs accounted for half of the registered green number plates, according to the ministry. Based on the latest data from the Ministry of the Interior, the number of purely electric passenger cars was close to 40,000 by the end of July, and there were also nearly 2,500 purely electric trucks and more than 400 environmentally friendly motorcycles running in the country. The share of EVs among new autos in Hungary rose to 6% in the first quarter, compared to 2.4% in the Czech Republic, 3.3% in Poland and 1.8% in Slovakia. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the proportion of EVs in Europe has risen to 12%. Norway is the EV capital of Europe: 79% of new cars sold in 2022 were EVs.

Agora Achieves ‘Gold’ Well Precertification

Hungarian and Central European office developer HB Reavis has achieved Well “Gold” precertification for its 68,000 sqm Agora Tower and Agora Hub located at Göncz Árpád tér. “To succeed, both buildings had to fulfill strict requirements relating to the quality of air, water, nourishment, light, active design, mind, comfort and community measurements, including checks on water quality, ensuring enough fresh air and a high quality of food in the restaurants. Agora Budapest was also the first commercial building in Budapest to receive Breeam Communities certification, proving the high level of our interest in not only nourishing business and other communities around the project but making them as inclusive as possible,” said HB Reavis.

Volánbusz Adds 100 EVs to its Fleet

The Hungarian bus company Volánbusz has added 100 EVs to its fleet. According to the company, it aims to replace around half its almost 6,000 vehicles with electric buses.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of September 8, 2023.

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