48 (143) 2021

Green Transformation

How has sustainability made its way into industrial spaces?

Experts from Cushman & Wakefield present a pioneering industrial market survey
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Over 80% of industrial occupiers are asking about sustainable warehouse solutions and 60% of them would like their facilities to be green-certified, says global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield in its Industrial Goes Green report on sustainability in the industrial sector.

The industrial market’s growth has been nothing short of spectacular – recently in particular – with warehouses and factories being built at a rapid pace and increasingly fitting in with the trend of sustainable building with a special focus on environmental protection. Cushman & Wakefield’s Industrial Goes Green report shows how sustainability has become part of the industrial market. It also contains an analysis of the most efficient green solutions and presents estimated costs of and return on investment for a reference warehouse building.

Towards sustainability

Joanna Sinkiewicz, head of Industrial & Logistics, Cushman & Wakefield, has noted that the use of environmentally friendly solutions has not been very popular until recently as it meant additional spending, and says: “The unfavourable ratio of cost to potential benefits of space usage discouraged short-term occupiers, while developers – due to the intense market competition – were clearly more focused on price rivalry. Environmentally friendly facilities with above-market specifications were not popular for many years. Fortunately, such solutions have gradually gained in importance, largely on account of real savings to tenants and developers, and far lower operating costs of such buildings. Sustainable solutions are simply cost-effective.”

“A turning point in sustainability came with pre-let projects where it is possible to make modifications and negotiate technical specifications before a project is delivered,” says Joanna Sinkiewicz. "Such facilities are also longer leased assets, which is an additional advantage. Some developers are already undertaking to bear the costs of selected sustainability investments.”

Report author Ryszard Gwóźdź, senior industrial technical manager at Cushman & Wakefield, says that until recently, developers would make the size of sustainability investments conditional mainly on whether a selected solution could be considered to add value to a building and whether it contributed to image-building. The latter factor has become especially relevant in recent months, also fuelled by international investment funds acquiring industrial assets in Poland.

“Sustainable solutions and green certificates are a hallmark of quality and thereby a project’s value for cross-border investors. Therefore, this is an additional incentive for developers active on the Polish market to deliver projects meeting the standards required by international certification schemes,” says Mr Gwóźdź.

Green certificates

BREEAM and LEED certificates are good evidence that a warehouse is ‘green’ as they indicate that an industrial building has been designed and built in compliance with sustainable development principles. Poland currently has 139 BREEAM- or LEED-certified buildings, accounting for 16% of all warehouses in the country. Such certification is not standard practice yet, but it will soon be according to experts. “Sustainability features are now included in every larger project delivered on a pre-let basis. In our opinion, the number of certified buildings will continue to grow,” says Ms Sinkiewicz. “A similar phenomenon was earlier observed on the office market. It is large market players that are increasingly opting for BREEAM-certified projects. This has been one of key industrial market trends in the past year.”

Sustainable technologies of the future

Cushman & Wakefield’s report is more than just an overview of sustainable warehouses. It also presents findings from the authors’ pioneering, comprehensive industrial market survey of sustainable solutions in industrial buildings. Survey responses came from all leading industrial developers active in Poland. The report addresses such issues as: the use of heat recovery from air compressors, LED lighting, photovoltaics, ground heat exchangers, heat pumps, destratification fans, thermal performance of walls and roofs, as well as the use of greywater and CO2 as coolants, and the use of runoff water.

The report also contains a brief introduction to the above topics, an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each solution and proposed improvements. The survey analysis and findings include examples of practical applications of sustainable solutions in warehouses throughout Poland.

All proceeds from the report partners presenting examples of sustainable solutions in specific projects will be donated to the Polish Foundation for Energy Efficiency (FEWE) to support it in achieving its statutory goals. Developers who have joined this initiative include 7R, CTP, GLP, Logicor, Panattoni Europe, Prologis and SEGRO, to whom we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude.

The full report can be found here

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