The growing interest for LEED and BREEAM certifications has continued this year, especially for office projects. At the beginning of 2017, over 1.22 million sqm of office space were already certified and other 36 buildings, with approximately 785,000 sqm of offices, are currently under certification, according to Colliers International.

The Romanian office market reached the threshold of 3 million sqm in 2016 and the quantitative development of this sector in the last few years has been strengthened by a qualitative development in light of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method) certified stock. Of the total green certificates granted in 2016, 80% were awarded for office projects.

"Developers and landlords are increasingly focusing on the efficiency, sustainability and environmental performance of the buildings. These represent the new real estate market trend, as approximately 785,000 sqm of office space, respectively 36 buildings, are under certification", Stefania Baldovinescu, Senior Partner and Real Estate Management Services Director (REMS) at Colliers International Romania stated.

"If, before 2011, the stock of office buildings in Romania with green certifications was estimated around 78,000 sqm, this stock has expanded considerably from year to year, from 131,000 sqm in 2011 to 1,18 million sqm in 2016. Out of this total, a certified area of 815,000 sqm is located in Bucharest, 248,000 sqm in Cluj-Napoca and 69,000 sqm in TimÈ™oara, these being the most developed office markets in the country", Stefania Baldovinescu added.

In 2016, the Green Certifications team of the REMS division of Colliers International Romania has expanded as a result of the growth in market share in this segment and currently has six specialists: four LEED Green Associates, a LEED AP Building Design + Construction, BREEAM Assessor and BREEAM In-Use Assessor specialist, and a LEED AP Operations + Maintenance specialist. Last year, the Colliers team obtained green certifications for approximately 600,000 sqm, out of which more than 300,000 sqm were office buildings.

At European level, Romania ranks among the younger green certificates markets. In Central and Eastern Europe, Romania competes with countries such as Poland, which has a total of 409 certified buildings, while the remaining countries of the region account for 441 of such buildings.

"Compared with countries in the Central and Eastern Europe region, such as Poland, which has the largest stock of green buildings, Romania can be considered an emerging market. Regarding office buildings, in 2016 about 50% of the office space in Poland was certified, and in Romania over the same year, more than 39% of the total office stock held LEED or BREEAM certifications", Stefania Baldovinescu concluded.

The interest of developers in the certification of real estate projects is increasing due to both the sustainability of green buildings and the small cost difference associated with these type of buildings compared to conventional buildings. According to Colliers International data, construction costs may be up to 12.5% higher, but most buildings involve a higher cost of up to 4%, these cost variations being based on the level of certification.