Passive buildings, is the revolution ahead of us?

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2023-12-04   10:45

Energy efficiency is one of the most important challenges in the real estate market. This is a key issue both in the conduct of investments and in EU regulations. Will the law force the market to put more emphasis on passive buildings? Who will cover the cost of thermo-modernization in Europe?

"The real estate market is clearly professionalizing and diversifying in this respect. In the case of production plants or generally on the industrial real estate market, passive buildings, i.e. self-sufficient buildings, begin to set the standard of approach to sustainable construction," argues Marcin Kosieniak, MEP specialist, co-owner of the project office PM Projekt.

Energy efficiency of buildings is one of the more frequently returning topics related to the real estate market. This is due not only to the economic calculus, popularization of trends, but also from EU regulations, which force a wave of renovation.

"No one is particularly surprised that investors in the assessment of projects pay attention to heating sources or location towards light pages and even the type of raw materials used. Heat pumps or photovoltaics – also due to subsidies – have become almost standard and today we rather have to pay attention and show that they do not always have the best use," believes Kosieniak.

Fashion for passive houses.

"Passive houses, i.e. buildings with extremely low energy demand for interior heating, are much more than energy-efficient buildings. – Self-sufficiency of such projects also means properly calculated and precisely programmed by HVAC specialists ways of using heating or passive cooling. For this, such houses also have the right shape – most often they are designed in the shape of a rectangle, without balconies and decorations, often with a one-slope roof," Kosieniak calculates.

Regulatory pressure has forced the real estate market to change the way CO2 emissions are about reducing CO2 emissions. You can also see that ESG (in English. Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, i.e. the management of environmental, social and corporate governance) is increasingly important for investors, but also for consumers and users.

As the PwC report shows, ESG standards have become decisive for leading investors around the world. Among the investors surveyed, almost half (49%) declared their willingness to withdraw from companies if they do not take sufficient action on ESG issues. 79% believe that the way a company manages ESG’s risk and opportunities is an important factor in making investment decisions.

"We also observe this in the case of projects made for international companies. They often not only force the appropriate applications just indicated by MEP specialists, but then these proposals are evaluated by the indicated independent specialists dealing with these issues, taking into account the long-term ESG strategy of the company. This is starting to set the standard of work on the project today," says Kosieniak.

Thermo-modernization on a large scale. Who's gonna pay for this?

EU regulatory efforts are now aiming to commit Member States to thermo-modernisation. Is it and on what extent will this be a revolution in the real estate market?

"It all depends on the scale and pace. Today we see that regulatory pressure is weakening slightly under the pressure of cost pressure. And it will be at the global level in the near future that it will decide on the popularity of the trend related to passive buildings." points out Marcin Kosieniak, MEP specialist, co-owner of the project office PM Projekt. At the same time, he recalls that at the end of September, the German government withdrew from plans of strict building insulation standards and announced Germany’s opposition to the proposed EU regulations to force the thermo-modernization of millions of buildings.

What cost are we talking about? According to the Energy Forum, the cost of thermo-modernization in Europe by 2030 is approx. 275 billion euros a year. Poland, in line with the adopted strategy, plans to modernize 236,000 buildings per year over the coming years. It seems that funds from the National Reconstruction Plan may play a key role in financing the modernization.