The Countdown Begins to Energy Efficient Social Housing

14 September 2018 – El Mundo

The revised Technical Building Code (CTE) is going to be published soon in Spain, in line with similar developments in other European countries. In addition to standardising a new way of building, the revised code is going to incorporate the definition of nearly zero energy buildings (EECNs), which will introduce much more demanding parameters than are currently in place.

Private property developers know that from 31 December 2020 onwards, all of the new properties that they build will have to comply with those guidelines. They are demands that come from Europe and that also affect new buildings that are occupied and publicly owned, including social housing. Those buildings must comply with the energy requirements from 31 December of this year.

But, are the Public Administrations prepared? According to Inés Leal, Director of the Nearly Zero Energy Building Congress, “the large cities are better equipped to handle the implementation of nearly zero energy buildings than the smaller towns, which may find it harder to achieve the objectives”.

Although there are not many constructed EECN public housing projects, the buildings certified under the Passivhaus standard have become the closest example of nearly zero energy buildings.

Adelina Uriarte, President of the Passivhaus Building Platform (PEP), believes that the different administrations have the capacity to adapt to the guidelines of European legislation in this regard. What’s more, she adds that “those with the greatest predisposition have already done so ahead of the established deadline”.

One of them is the Town Hall of Madrid, which wanted to set the example and anticipate the 2019 deadline. Thus, at the Municipal Plenary on 25 May 2016, an agreement was unanimously adopted which assumes that all new buildings that are planned, and even those that are already standing that have to undergo an extension or a comprehensive renovation, must be positive from an energy perspective (…).

Financing and costs

In terms of financing, the experiences involving public housing already undertaken in Spain are demonstrating that EECNs are economically viable. In fact, according to Germán Velázquez, Partner at VArquitectos, a public building can be made nearly zero energy efficient with the same budget. And he justifies it: “The current legislation demands several issues that no longer represent an extra cost for developing ECCNs; the key is in the drafting of a good set of plans to ensure that the euro ratios per square metre are equivalent to those of a conventional building”. In his experience, the average cost per square metre amounts to around €650/750 in a conventional public building compared with €700/800 that it costs to construct a public EECN (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Juanjo Bueno)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Iberdrola Markets A Large New Office Complex In Barcelona

24 January 2017 – El Economista

The real estate consultancy firms Aguirre Newman and CBRE will be responsible for marketing the largest complex of new offices currently under construction in Barcelona. Specifically, Torre Auditori and Torre Marina, two skyscrapers, owned by Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, which form part of the BCN Fira District complex. The energy firm plans to build another two towers on the site, taking the total surface area to more than 91,100 m2.

Both agents will work under a co-exclusivity agreement to market the most important offices in Barcelona, where 35,550 m2 of new office space is expected to come onto the market this year. Most of this space will become available in Torre Marina, which is in the final phase of construction and which is expected to be completed in April.

This skyscraper, with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 19,663m2, will be the smallest of the four, but will differentiate itself from the rest because it will have a retail and restaurant space on the lower floors, known as the Marina Atrium.

The property stands next to Torre Auditori, which has a GLA of 22,899 m2, spread over 21 floors, and which was the first property to come onto the market. This skyscraper already has several tenants including Asus, Proclinic, Dentsply, Marmedsa and Iberdolra itself – which has moved its central headquarters in Cataluña to this building – it offers open spaces of up to 1,200 m2 per floor, divisible into four modules.

“Barcelona has always been a strategic place for our activity and we are now demonstrating it by putting more than 42,000 m2 of efficient office space on the market”, said Miguel Ángel García Tamargo, Director of Real Estate at Iberdrola Inmobiliaria.

In this sense, the firm highlights that both towers have an “A” energy rating and a BREEAM certificate, and stand out thanks to their functionality, sustainability and energy saving, “characteristics, which make this a unique and sustainable business centre in Barcelona”.

BCN Fira District

In total, Iberdrola plans to construct four towers, three of which will have 21 floors; and each one will have an above ground gross leasable area of 22,899 m2. Moreover, the plans include more than 1,000 underground parking spaces, which have already been built.

Located in the new business district of Barcelona, the design of Iberdrola’s business complex is being led by the Barcelona-based architecture studio Tusquets, Díaz y Asociados, which previously collaborated with the company to complete two other buildings in the Catalan capital, namely, the Torres Diagonal Litoral and the Hilton Diagonal Mar Hotel.

The four towers are just one group of properties that comprise the BCN Fira District complex, which also includes the Fira de Barcelona and the office building that the real estate subsidiary of the insurance company Axa is going to construct for La Generalitat.

93,000 m2

Iberdrola Inmobiliaria already has a timeline for the construction of the other two towers that form part of these plans, which will be launched once the two properties that have just come onto the market have been leased. If everything goes according to plan, the new building work will begin in 2018. During that same year, 93,000 m2 of new office space is expected to come onto the market in Barcelona, of which 23% has already been leased.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake