Generali Real Estate (GRE) is the company that manages the Group’s real estate assets of a value of around € 26 billion. Through the management of a portfolio of unique diversity, made up of both historic and recently-constructed buildings, GRE has developed in-depth know-how of technological innovation and sustainability, anticipating market trends and operator’s expectations, a commitment that was confirmed in 2016 thanks to a number of initiatives.
- Green Lease
In collaboration with a top international law firm, GRE presented the policy document Green Leases: Recommendations for an environmentally sustainable approach to the real estate sector during the MIPIM in Cannes, the leading global event for the sector. It includes guidelines and non-binding principles.
Among the objectives of the publication, of interest were: sharing and raising awareness on the commitment to environmental sustainability, reducing costs and improving the working environment.
A key principle in Green Leases regards the exchange of significant information for the purposes of sustainable management, which allows reports, analysis and benchmarking to be prepared to the benefit of management operations.
- Energy Monitoring and Targeting (M&T)
This management system is composed of interconnected operational tools developed to provide energy managers of each building with feedback on the progress of their plants with respect to energy consumption levels envisaged at certain times of the year. It also allows the reporting of any unexpected excesses of consumption due to system malfunctioning, operating errors, lack of maintenance or negligent behaviour by users.
The ultimate goal is the reduction of energy costs through improved energy efficiency and management control; further benefits are obtained from more effective budget forecasts for energy costs, from lower risks of malfunctioning and, in environmental terms, from reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
To date, GRE has installed over 50 M&T systems in its real estate portfolio.
The underlying principle of certification schemes stems from the idea of assessing the quality of a building or its management not only by considering the financial aspects, but also environmental and social sustainability parameters.
Sustainability certification uses, with different weights, indicators related to energy consumption, waste management, pollution levels, the use of land and transport, health and well-being. Buildings are valued especially as regards the construction phase, but there are also specific criteria for existing buildings or for renovations. Generally, buildings for commercial use are assessed, not those for residential use.
Among the most internationally popular and highly recognised certification schemes are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology). There are also several other certifications at national level, including HQE in France, Minergie in Switzerland and DGNB in Germany.
Every year GRE performs many maintenance interventions in which environmental issues and energy savings play a key role.
- The Farragut building in Washington DC received LEED Platinum certification for its efficient use of resources, after having obtained the LEED Gold certificate in 2012. These recognitions are even more significant if we consider the age of the building (1961) and its complex management (over 30 tenants).
The main improvements implemented by the team of Generali engineers regarded the cooling system with the installation of new chillers, an innovative approach to daily energy management and with continuous adjustments determined by weather conditions, interventions on the lighting system with the installation of sensors and LED lights and on the hydraulic system to minimise consumption.
- The building of Corso Italia 6 in Milan obtained the LEED sustainability certification.
Among the main improvements put in place were the improvement of the thermal performance of the building through the insulation of the external walls and the installation of high-performance windows, as well as the installation of a latest generation air-conditioning system. Furthermore, for reducing the electrical consumption, LED lights were installed in the common parts of the property.
- The building in Place de l’Opéra 4 in Paris, one of the most prestigious properties of Generali’s real estate assets built in Haussman style, obtained HQE Exploitation certification for the degree of sustainability achieved.
After its purchase in 2013, GRE renovated the building to achieve the highest sustainability standards, both as regards the building’s structural part and the management of energy consumption. The tenants of the property were made aware of and actively involved in adopting the environmental performance improvements.
Despite some regulatory restrictions on historic buildings, the results were comparable to the standards of new buildings, with an overall limited investment compared to the property’s market value.