White House Gains LEED ‘Platinum’ Accreditation

Office Market

The White House by GTC has become the second Budapest office development after Skanska’s Green House to be awarded LEED “Platinum” accreditation, the highest category level possible by the U.S.-based LEED for rating scheme for building design and construction.

White House by GTC in Budapest.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) examines the property’s location, efficiency of water and energy consumption, materials and resources, alongside built-in innovative technologies an indoor air quality.

The recently acquired accreditation is reflected in the White House’s location in Váci út, adjacent to the metro on the site of the 100-year-old former Schleck Elevator Factory and includes a refurbished area that provides a stand-alone loft with 2,000 sqm of office space in addition to the newbuilt 19,000 sqm office area.

“GTC White House is a symbiotic complex that combines great modern architecture with a traditional urban development,” says Thomas Kurzmann, CEO of GTC, of the project.

The site itself was a sustainable choice as it is a former brownfield area that has been redeveloped to a modern “A” category office building, according to Colliers International.

Excellent Opportunities

“Built on the Váci Corridor, GTC White House has excellent public transportation opportunities within a short walking distance, complemented by a bicycle lane passing by the building,” says Norbert Szircsák, a senior associate of Colliers Green Building Advisory Services.

“Plenty of bicycle racks, common area showers and changing rooms serve the needs of environmentally conscious employees as well as electric car chargers for the growing number of electric car owners. A large green roof, rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets, a high efficiency HVAC system, good thermal isolation, and above average volumes of fresh air to the occupants are among the many factors that contributed to this success,” Szircsák ads. The certification process was advised by the Colliers International Hungary Green Building Advisory Team.

The other LEED Platinum office complex in Budapest is the 20,000 sqm Green house by Skanska, which was completed in 2012. Skanska has a policy of developing in line with LEED specifications throughout Europe. The development strategy of GTC, meanwhile is to aim for a minimum of LEED “Gold” accreditation across its CEE portfolio in Budapest, Poland, Bucharest, Belgrade, Zagreb and Sofia. It has a further pipeline of more than 400,000 sqm across the CEE capitals.

Although LEED is the accreditation system favored by leading developers such as GTC and Skanska, the preferred sustainability option in Hungary and Central Europe is generally the U.K.-based BREEAM with 84 accreditations in Hungary as of November last year, according to the Hungarian Green Building Council (HuGBC). This is followed by LEED and, increasingly, developers are looking to the WELL accreditation system. Whichever system developers opt for, accreditation is now the norm for quality office developments in Budapest and other CEE office markets

“BREEAM is much better suited to the CEE markets than other green building schemes,” comments Zsombor Barta, president of the HuGBC.

“Further, BREEAM is the only certification scheme that has a very user-friendly and therefore highly successful certification for existing buildings. Also, you are able to submit evidences for BREEAM “In-Use” in your own local language, which makes BREEAM much more attractive, and also more efficient. This is the reason why BREEAM is clearly dominating the CEE market,” Barta ads.

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