The property industry has a strong commitment to fighting climate change, and for good reason: Properties represent as much as nearly 40 per cent of global energy consumption. Sponda’s Sustainability Manager, Hannamari Koivula, knows that ecological business premises are a worldwide trend that are here to stay.

The environmental impact of business premises is recognised around the world: properties are a major source of energy consumption. The problem areas have been identified and the actions taken by the industry members are starting to make themselves felt. According to Hannamari Koivula, Sustainability Manager at Sponda, one of the primary focus areas at present is reducing the energy consumption of buildings. For example, in Finland, heating represents 25 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption. Energy conservation also makes economic sense, as energy costs have increased.

The property industry takes responsibility for the environment globally. It is also obligated to do this by regulations, such as those implemented by the European Union. According to Koivula, at the company level, the eco-efficiency of business premises is largely implemented through businesses’ own environmental programmes. They are guided by legislation as well as various company-specific commitments, such as the national energy efficiency agreement and cities’ climate partnership programmes.

“There is a high level of awareness in Finland, and business premises are required to be energy efficient as well as environmentally friendly.”

Green leases

A large proportion of Sponda’s customers are part of the company’s Energy Efficiency Programme and Environmental Partnership Programme, which are aimed at reducing the environmental load and energy consumption of properties. The Energy Efficiency Programme covers as much as 75 per cent of Sponda’s property portfolio.

The programme’s original target of reducing the energy consumption of properties by 10 per cent by 2016 has already been accomplished. The next goal is to achieve a total reduction of 20 per cent by 2020.

Other results related to the mitigation of environmental impacts also look promising. The water consumption of properties has been reduced by ten per cent from the 2011 level. Heating energy consumption decreased by approximately seven per cent compared to 2011.

“In waste recovery, we reached a rate of 87 per cent last year and will increase that further, to well over 90 per cent this year,” Hannamari Koivula says.

Waste recovery refers to the recycling and reuse of various materials, as well as their utilisation as energy sources.

In addition to its Energy Efficiency Programme and Environmental Partnership Programme, Sponda offers its customers a Green Lease model. It involves agreeing on joint environmental targets and compensation models. The financial savings or excesses are then divided annually between the tenant and lessor according to the terms of the agreement. Koivula believes that the popularity of green leases is on the rise.

Text: Elise Tamminen