In an ideal world sustainability begins at the design phase. A precondition is that sustainability is an integral part of the process, whether for new construction projects or for redevelopment. Project developer Multi Vastgoed has made sustainability an integral part of its future plans.
BREEAM appears to be an interesting methodology: not only as an instrument of assessment, but even more so for determining the actual substance of a project. SGS Search assisted the firm in establishing this within the organisation. Director Heino Vink on the sustainable future of commercial property.
The case: Identifying ambitions and sustainability workshops for personnel with BREEAM themes as point of reference
Organisation’s request: Advice for and training of employees at Multi Vastgoed
Solution: SGS Search helped the board with identifying ambitions and trained the employees to apply sustainability to their projects
Establishing sustainability as an element of their designs has been a logical part of the set-up at Multi Vastgoed for many years now. Where did that kind of focus come from? Director Heino Vink explains: ‘Initially, the focus on sustainability came from our own vision on how to accommodate the world we operate in. We make it possible for investors to invest in property projects that treat the environment and our natural resources with respect.’ According to the director, this approach is a perfect match with the demand now coming from the market. ‘More and more clients are interested in sustainable property. Institutional investors now see this as a precondition for the acquisition of a project.’
Vink points out that it is logical to view sustainability in much broader terms than energy efficiency alone. Together with SGS Search the Dutch management have discussed how they can make this an actual element of their ambition. ‘The way in which we look at sustainability is expressed very clearly in the BREEAM themes. An energy-neutral building is a wonderful thing. However, if you forget to pay attention to the aesthetics of the building itself, for example, then you will not have created a sustainable piece of property,’ according to Vink.
The next step? Providing training to the employees. So we can be sure that sustainability doesn’t just exist on paper. Under the supervision of an expert the employees were formed into groups to follow a workshop. Vink: ‘Our employees are now much more aware of sustainability. Their level of knowledge has been increased. They have all become experts and are now able to promote the quality of Multi in the market.’ This means that they can make sustainability in property projects both tangible and applicable.
Asked what challenges the project developer can expect to face, Heino Vink identifies interaction with the users of the building as important. ‘It is the users who ultimately determine how sustainable property becomes. Residents and shop owners, for example. As a project developer we are able to manage a project in a very sustainable fashion, but it is the users who will shape the building’s footprint.’ The director acknowledges that this can often lead to tension and emphasises the need for a pragmatic approach. ‘Ultimately the retailers must be able to run their business in a profitable manner in the building. An entrepreneur must be able to carry out his business. That is our starting point.’