[ESREI’S One year anniversary] – The European OID initiative gives an overview of sustainable real estate regulations in European countries

The Green Building Observatory (OID in French) has launched a European programme in 2021, the European Sustainable Real Estate Initiative (ESREI). This OID sponsored programme brings together real estate stakeholders to discuss ESG issues and the situation regarding ESG regulations across Europe.

Given the current challenges in terms of regulatory compliance, the question of our European neighbours approaches of these issues arises. ESREI therefore seeks to learn from the best practices of other countries, as well as to report on both national and European regulations in terms of ESG issues for the real estate sector. 

At the European level, regulations are multiplying. The OID has been working for several years to decipher them and make them accessible to all: European Taxonomy, Disclosure regulation, CSRD directive on corporate sustainability reporting, study of decarbonation pathways, and so forth. There also exist many regulations at the national level of the various countries. Thus, ESREI provides an overview of ESG topics by producing regular publications to support real estate actors operating in several European countries.


An overview of technical issues concerning regulations in sustainable real estate

Technical and regulatory monitoring has been carried out for several European countries. It is available on Taloen in the form of « Country Fact Sheets », which are designed to lay out overviews of the sustainable real estate sector in each of the countries studied.

These country fact sheets present key figures on energy, carbon and biodiversity issues in the country. Renovation strategies and associated laws and regulations are presented, like EPCs or buildings construction rules. Each fact sheet also includes a section on sustainable building certifications such as BREEAM, LEED, HQE or labels or certifications specific to the country.

Regarding greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, country fact sheets present national decarbonisation strategies, as well as the local declination of the European carbon trading scheme (EU – ETS). Biodiversity and natural risks management issues are also addressed, with varying degrees of emphasis depending on their importance in the country’s sustainable strategies.

Country fact sheets also tackle the subject of pollution and waste, regarding soil, air quality and construction waste management as well as circular economy. In addition, a review is made of the regulations in the countries in terms of tenancy regulations, notably questioning the place of green leases in the various European countries studied.

Through these national decipherments, published on a regular basis since November 2021, the OID seeks to offer a common framework at the European level to enable stakeholders to move forward on these essential issues.


An opportunity to compare countries and best practices

After nearly 8 months of publications about 8 different countries, the findings vary. Each country has its own speciality in terms of ESG issues. Some Member States are focusing on necessary renovation strategies given the state of the building stock (Italy, Spain), others on the management of physical and water-related risks (Netherlands, Germany), while several have unique energy policies compared to their European neighbours (France, Luxembourg) or advanced positions on the place of circular economy (Belgium). The country profiles also highlight the different levels of challenge in terms of energy and carbon performances of the building stock. Indeed, countries will face greater or lesser challenges in achieving the objectives set both on the energy and on the decarbonisation issue, given their actual position. Furthermore, national variations of European regulations and strategies exist. This is the case for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the associated EPCs, or the European carbon quota system for example.

Thus, the country fact sheets highlight differences between countries, but also identify the best practices. Moreover, thematic studies have also been conducted these last months. They allow to go into more detail regarding some of the points addressed in the country fact sheets and offer in-depth comparisons between countries.

These country fact sheets therefore provide a good opportunity to take stock of European and national regulations when sustainability issues are becoming more and more important and regulatory pressure on real estate sector is increasing.


ESREI 1st anniversary: a one-time online conference to discover more about dedicated tools and studies for sustainable real estate in Europe

If you are interested to find out more about the initiative, we warmly invite you to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the ESREI programme, which will take the form of an online conference on the 30th of June, between 2:30 and 4:40 pm CET on “Mitigation and adaptation: how the building sector can face the challenge in Europe”. It will be the opportunity to present the progress of the programme in terms of publications with a focus on the R4RE platform, the dedicated mapping tool for climate change adaptation and resilience analysis developed by OID. The results of the two last ESREI’s studies will also exposed, the first about Decarbonisation of the building sector in Europe and the Comparison of EPCs in Europe.

Register for the conference here.

The ESREI programme is now sponsored by Advenis REIM, AEW, Allianz Real Estate, Amundi Asset Management, Aviva Investors France, Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Icade, La Française REM and PERIAL Asset Management. Launched mid-2021, the programme will have a minimum duration of 2 years.


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