Dragana Korica, Executive Director of SrbGBC: Promoting green building for almost 10 years

Creating a market through demand would also support sustainable construction, so SerbiaGBC continues its activities further, informing future users, investors, producers, all those who need to understand the benefits it brings them

Dragana Korica, Executive Director of SrbGBC

The construction sector is one of the most influential on climate change, unfortunately not in a positive context, therefore being crucial in undergoing transformation. The impact of the built environment is noted through massive amounts of resources consumed (50%), it is responsible for over 35% of the total waste generated in the EU. 39% of the total GHG emissions originate from this sector. By optimizing the materials alone, these emissions could be cut down by 80%, not to mention the savings that would be achieved by switching to renewable sources during the use of buildings.

“The new Action Plan for Circular Economy is one of the main elements of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable development”

In order to optimize the use of resources and reduce impact on climate, the EU Commission will launch a new comprehensive Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment by promoting standards for entire life cycle assessment and circularity, in order to keep the resources in use within the EU economy for as long as possible. SerbiaGBC, as a member of World GBC, contributed to the Open Letter addressed to the EU Commission, which refers to the introduction of Level(s) and standards relating to the entire life cycle of buildings (section 3.6).

The EU is striving for climate neutrality. Cities in Europe emit 72% of all greenhouse gases. If it is estimated that 85% of the entire population will live in cities by 2050, it is evident why net-zero emission targets have been introduced in their agendas. They are racing as to who will become climate neutral sooner (Copenhagen 2025, Helsinki 2035, Stockholm 2040.).

Due to these reasons, cities are setting conditions to large buildings to be green-sustainable – in order to minimize their impact. Certification has become a tool that confirms this commitment. Globally, it is already deeply paving the way to the NEW NORMAL. In the Netherlands, in 2018, 75% of the built commercial sector was certified green. Examples of excellent practice in sustainability are THE EDGE in Amsterdam, BLOOMBERG in London and OLYMPIC HOUSE in Lausanne.

It is precisely the Deloitte building (THE EDGE), that stands as a confirmation of the global trend of shifting towards green building. Although it was the most expensive facility in terms of initial investment, after three years it became the cheapest to maintain. This experience initiated them immediately to start the construction of the next, as they say, even greener facility. For investors, in addition to other benefits that go along with it, economic profitability is still the guiding principle.

Real Estate in Serbia has also swept this trend. The benefits of green certified buildings were especially recognized by investors who later remain in the ownership of these buildings, especially those of a commercial nature (they are rented faster, achieve a better price and are cheaper to maintain).

SerbiaGBC has been promoting green building for almost 10 years with the aim of transforming the building and real estate markets in Serbia. We believe that through our activities, getting to know the profession, competent institutions, businesses, but also the general public, we have contributed to raising awareness. Two years ago, there were 13 LEED certified buildings in Serbia, now there are 19, while another 27 are in the process of certification. Among the last certified according to BREEAM is Ušće Tower 2. We are proud of the members who, by their example, establish the transformation towards sustainability at the local level. Each of our members has a reason behind their vision of green-sustainable building – whether they are socially oriented and responsible companies, academic institutions, experts in the field, but also young people who are preparing for the new normal with the Council.

Construction is one of the main pillars of economic growth in Serbia with the largest share in GDP in the previous two years. The growth trend is in the first quarter of 2020 (19.6%), initiates the building sector as one that can play the key role in the transformation of Serbia towards sustainable development. Green building enables continuity of economic growth, but also provides the necessary environmental and social benefits.

The financial sector is recognizing this and is already accelerating globally and with a huge percentage of green investments in construction.

That is why it is important for us to expand this dialogue with all parties within Real Estate. Regulatory changes are needed to encourage this kind of building, as many countries already support.

Creating a market through demand would also support sustainable construction, so SerbiaGBC continues its activities further, informing future users, investors, producers, all those who need to understand the benefits it brings them.

This year SerbiaGBC is once again promoting WGBWeek, the topic of which is #CimateAction. Join us in the last week of September on the way to a net zero emission future https://serbiagbc.rs/

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