The real estate business has an important and multi-dimensional impact on society and our living.
When a property is purchased, the necessary due diligences always comprise sustainability matters. They go through matters related to soil, energy efficiency and background information about the main tenant, for instance. We also thoroughly assess sustainable forms of transport, the location of the investment target with regard to public transport and the life cycle costs. During the ownership period, activities are taken in both separate properties and the operating models and processes of the funds (eQ Care Fund and eQ Finnish Real Estate Fund) in order to propomote sustainability (e.g. BREEAM In-Use certifications as well as the development of reporting regarding energy, water and waste and its use in the co-operation wirh tenants). Carrying out and developing responsible operations is part of the day-to-day work of every member or our real estate team. The entire process is designed to ensuring long term sustainable returns.
We are commited to constantly developing our sustainability. We feel that eQ Asset Management is a so-called "permanent owner", which requires of us sustainable long-term solutions regarding both own processes and our real estate investment targets.
In 2019, taking into account and developing sustainability had a major role both in property development and construction and in the management of existing properties and seeing to the needs of the tenants. The real estate funds of eQ Asset Management participated for the first time in the GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) assessment of sustainable properties. The results that we get through GRESB will help us identify and prioritise development areas related to sustainable operations and build a strong foundation for systematic development of sustainability in our real estate investments. In 2019, we also joined the TETS programme (energy efficiency agreement of the real estate sector), continued with the development of stakeholder engagements (e.g. tenant satisfaction surveys and the integration of ESG recommendations in new leases) and improved the documentation processes of information pertaining to the energy management of real estate targets.
In our choices we try to find as low-carbon alternatives as possible. The investment targets of both the Finnish Real Estate Fund and Care Fund have used renewable electricity based on wind power since the beginning of 2018. In addition, we always evaluate the possibilities of using geothermal and solar energy in our new real estate targets. Towards the end of 2019, a school centre that we built in Lauttasaari was completed (primary school for about 600 pupils and nursery for 300 children) and delivered to the city of Helsinki. This is the first own developing project of our real estate funds. The school centre is completely carbon neutral during its use. The heating and cooling energy used by the centre is produced with geothermal energy, and the object also uses solar panels. A comprehensive system monitoring the quality of the indoor air has also been installed in the school centre.