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Left: Viru Keskus in Tallinn was awarded the LEED O&M Silver in 2015. Credit: Viru Keskus. Right: Imre-Gustav Vellamaa, Member of the Management Board at R8 Technologies. Credit: R8.

Green sports in real estate

The real estate business is not a sport but there are many similarities. Fair play, progress through training, new methodologies, competition, success (and failure), injuries and recovery, awards, fame etc.

By Imre-Gustav Vellamaa

Sustainability certificates LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) are the most-used rating systems for buildings in the world to find out how sustainable your building is. Is your building a winner? In sports there is a remarkable difference between being the first vs being the second. Of course, they both are good, but the winner is the best–and earns more money. This applies also to buildings. How to jump from one level to the next? And the most important question: what are the benefits from that jump? 

A jumping record from Tallinn, Estonia

The Viru Keskus shopping mall received the LEED O&M Silver in 2015 (O&M–Building Operations and Maintenance). Since then, a continuing development in all O&M fields is underway. Energy efficiency by AI is particularly important for this project in order to offer attractive and sustainable rental fees for tenants in the era of growing energy prices and awareness of environmental sustainability. It also includes the building’s digitalization and HVAC system (which accounts for approx. 40% of the building’s total energy costs!) management by the new generation artificial intelligent R8 Digital Operator since 2017. Therefore, it has become the first shopping mall in the region that utilizes its HVAC potential at a higher level than ever before. 

Because of that and several more efforts it is still the most visited mall in Tallin and it received the LEED O&M Platinum certification in 2019. It is also worth mentioning that Viru Keskus has become the only shopping center in the Baltic region and one of only 669 commercial buildings worldwide to achieve this level.                           

Awarding winners

What does it take for a building to become a winner? The sustainability certification process is designed to motivate project teams to find innovative solutions that support well-being, health, and eco-friendliness, while saving building owners money throughout the building’s entire life cycle. Tenants, visitors, employees–they all have a choice. They can choose you or not. They mostly choose winners. And vice versa–winners can choose them: the strongest tenants, the most talented employees, etc. Relations are always mutual! 

And finally, as a building owner you should know that the construction price is not a building’s value. It’s a combination of low costs/cost reduction and being as attractive as possible for tenants and employees by focusing on sustainability, which builds long-term relationships.

I would like to conclude with the words of  Viru Keskus’ CEO Gertti Kogermann: “LEED O&M Platinum is a recognition for Viru Keskus as the operator and administrator of the property. However, it is also an important aspect for our lease partners, as a confirmation of a more environmentally aware and environmentally sustainable business in addition to its excellent location and the highest visitor numbers.”


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