Focus on material topics
The focus of the Residential Fund’s sustainability strategy is on reducing the environmental impact of its properties while enhancing comfort in cooperation with its tenants and other stakeholders, For example, our standard programme of requirements for acquisitions and renovations focuses on structural quality, energy-efficient installations, water-saving fittings and maintenance-friendly and recycled materials. We have limited control in terms of influencing and measuring energy, water and waste reductions at tenant level, so we focus on data collection of sustainability indicators in areas that we can control.
Monitoring environmental performance data (energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste) is an important part of managing sustainability issues. The Fund tracks and aims to improve the environmental performance of its managed real estate assets: those properties where the Fund is responsible for purchasing and managing consumption. The Fund reports on energy consumption (electricity, heating and gas: the energy components) for apartment buildings which translates to greenhouse gas emissions.
The Fund has set clear targets for the period 2016-2018 to decrease its environmental impact:
Energy: average annual reduction 2%
GHG emissions: average annual reduction 2%
Water: average annual reduction 2%
Renewable energy: increase percentage renewable energy
By selecting and focusing on the top 50 largest energy consuming assets and connections and installing LED lighting and relocating sensors, the Fund is on track meeting this target. In 2016 the Fund managed to cut elektricity consumption by 8.9% (2015: 6.9%) and total energy consumption by 2.5% (2015: 4.0%) both on a like-for-like basis. The Fund purchases renewable electricity for common areas, while property managers are required to deliver sustainable alternatives for repairs and replacements based on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) principle. The Fund’s standard programme of requirements includes water-saving fittings, while we are also investigating the potential use of water buffering and partly recycled (non-drinking) water, for instance for the maintenance of green areas. This puts the Fund among the most sustainable residential funds in the Netherlands.
The Fund's ambition to increase the coverage and as such the transparency of its environmental impact according to INREV sustainability guidelines is reflected in the key CSR data summary. For more detailed information on the key performance indicators, please see the CSR performance indicators at the end of this annual report.
To reduce environmental and economic impact associated with fossil fuel energy use the Fund incorporated on-site renewable energy solutions prerequisites in its program of requirements for acquisitions and started to install solar panels on standing investments. At year end 2016 these actions have resulted in an increase of the Fund's on site renewable energy solutions to a total of 4,392 solar panels on both investment property and investment property under construction.
In 2016, the Residential Fund launched a second pilot with solar panels on our family homes. This pilot covers 324 homes in Nuenen and Valkenswaard, where we quickly found no less than 70 households willing to participate. This puts the conversation rate at 21.6%, considerably higher than in the first pilot. We plan to offer solar panels to around 4,300 households, as tenants generating their own power reduces fossil fuel consumption and gives us an opportunity to contribute indirectly to an improved environment. In addition, in some new-build apartment complexes we are fitting roofs with solar panels for the energy consumption in public spaces and elevators. And wherever possible, we are fitting public spaces (stairwells, parking garages, etc.) with LED lighting, which reduced energy use. Sometimes this is at the request of a tenants association when replacement of the lamps is not yet necessary. In those instances, tenants are often willing to contribute towards the expense through a slight increase in their service charges.
Both measures put the total installed on-site renewable energy capacity for the Fund at 736,00 kWh a year (2015: 108,498 kWh) and avoiding 263,857 kg GHG emissions (2015: 160,578 kg GHG emissions).
Live the future in BLOK61
BLOK61 is a complex of 96 industrial loft apartments in the heart of StrijpS, one of the most popular parts of Eindhoven. In 2016, the Residential Fund launched the ‘Live the Future’ concept for 14 loft apartments on the top floor of the complex, using smart technologies to explore ways to create energy-neutral apartments. While the block was still under construction, the Fund launched an initiative to find tenants willing to cooperate in the pilot project. These would ideally be people willing to embrace innovative new technologies and like Bouwinvest consider themselves frontrunners on the sustainability front. The respons was enthousiastic, potential tenants responded with smart solutions for these apartements. They are willing to participate and co-create in the concept.
The Fund is keen to experiment with a wide range of sensors and systems to discover the best – collective – ways to create comfortable living space with the most efficient use of resources. In exchange for their cooperation and their continuous feedback, the new tenants are given free use of a whole range of gadgets. The roofs of the lofts have been fitted with solar panels and residents can use the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the panels and stored in batteries. The lofts also come complete with state-of-the-art WiFi systems giving tenants perfect connectivity in every room. And because this is a truly cooperative initiative, the tenants themselves get together to agree on how to use the available energy to maximise comfort and cost-efficiencies for all the tenants of the 14 smart lofts.
In 2016, the Fund continued with measures to improve the energy labels for our homes. Our goal is obtain green energy label (A, B or C) or energy index below 1.8 for all our complexes by the end of 2018. At the end of 2016, the average energy coëfficiënt of the standing investments was 1.32 (label C). Currently 93.3% of the total portfolio rates a green energy label (A, B or C label) (2015: 92.6%).