Sustainable together

In our whitepaper, we described four categories of measures that help turn a circle of blame into a shared aim.

hello energy also helps. The software collects buildings’ energy and sustainability data, connects, and compares the data streams. That data is transformed into stories and visualisations. In doing so, all stakeholders are engaged in the sustainability mission. Whether they be owner, tenant, or visitor. All parties in the circle of blame know what’s up.

The three buildings below use hello energy and fix the circle of blame: Danzigerkade, Spaces, en Triodos Bank. In the table, you will find out which building used which measures.

All of these parties broke the circle in their own way. There are many ways to skin a cat. In this case study, we will focus on Spaces. What measures were used to get to shared aim?

There are Spaces buildings all around the world. They are office buildings in which members rent fixed spaces or subscribe to flex desks.

Return on investment

All these buildings are furnished. In a beautiful and user-friendly way, of course. But also in a sustainable way. Raymond Brom, property manager, knows all about that: “That furniture is an important part of our business model. We choose sustainable materials and high quality. And we make optimal use of the surface available. That means there are hardly any square metres we don’t use.” The quality and placement of the furniture isn’t the only thing of importance. Brom also tries making it as timeless as possible, so it doesn’t need to be replaced after a few years.

Brom sees sustainable investments as savings above all else. “Our business cases make sense and we make sure to earn back our investments. choosing a sustainable solution isn’t always on our own initiative. In some cases, local governments demand it. Even in such a case we try to argue in favour of the measure by framing it as cost-saving.” That’s not always possible. “waste separation for example costs more than you save… for now, in any case. Of course, it does save a lot for society at large.”

Governments as stimulator and discourager

Over the past years, Brom has seen more and more government activity in sustainability. Last year, the Netherlands saw new legislation that required all big commercial buildings to communicate the sustainable measures they had already taken and those yet to come. And Brom notices more and more cheques by government parties. However, the influence on Spaces is limited: “it is in our DNA to be sustainable. When new legislation comes along, we usually find we already tick all the boxes and no further action is necessary.”

Behavioural change in all stakeholders

An important stimulus for sustainability is conviction and ambition. “Every day we are confronted with this reality: the earth is warming, and sustainability is more important than ever before. If you can make a change, however small, that makes you feel good. And it motivates you to keep on keeping on and share that conviction.” How does one share such a personal ideal with coworkers? “Sustainable ideals are not a standard point on our meetings’ agendas. It’s in our company culture. I notice it in the small things, like the reusable water bottles that are on everybody’s desk. That change happens automatically, we don’t need to discuss it first. We also see it in our business clubs where the caterer provides special taps.”

In some cases, the stimulus is external. “A few of our tenants’ core business is sustainability. GRESB for example. it makes me extra proud to have them be one of our tenants. These are the kind of parties that ask us critical questions: Do we use renewable energy sources? Are we separating our waste? What is our energy usage? Those are kinds of questions that keep us sharp. and it feels extra good to be able to answer such a question positively. “Yes, we do all of those things. And the energy usage and our carbon footprint can be followed live in our hello energy portal.”

At the Spaces building in the Amsterdam South business district, saving energy is a priority. Brom: “Throughout the years, taxes on energy have gone up. And the energy itself has become more expensive. In order to stay ahead with those costs, we had to save on energy usage. Using hello energy, we decided that in this particular case the best solution was to exchange older bulbs for LED lamps.”

Real estate investor NSI owns this particular building, making NSI another stakeholder in its future. Thankfully, the investor has a strong green agenda. Both parties use hello energy. The shared insights are a great starting point for greening the building. And being on the same page from the start makes the journey towards sustainability easier and faster

Summary

Spaces has succeeded in making its portfolio more sustainable year after year. imparts by formulating shared aim with building owners together. And so can you! A great first step is to find out where you have come from and to share those insights. Contact us to find out how we can help.

P.S. Curious what those other buildings that use hello energy like Triodos Bank and Danzigerkade? Let us know. We love to share our knowledge.

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