"The portfolio of Triodos Vastgoedfonds achieves its zero emission status in four steps”, explains Berkhout.

CO2 emission reduction. "The first step is to reduce CO2 emissions by cutting back on the energy use of the offices, continues Berkhout. ”A good example in this regard is the Levob building in Amersfoort, which after a renovation improved its energy label from E to A."

Local production of renewable energy. Berkhout: “Several of the buildings in portfolio are equipped with warmth/cold storage systems, whereas others have solar panels or solar collectors”. A good example here is the GasTerra building in Groningen, which produces a considerable part of its own energy. Thus, from the total amount of used energy (electricity, gas and city heating) around 8% is locally produced by the offices itself.

Renewable energy. All energy used by Triodos Vastgoedfonds' buildings is electricity from wind and biogas. "This results in as much as 88.7% less emission of CO2 than the average Dutch office building."

Volutary Emission Reduction. The remaining emission, related to the transportation of energy, is compensated for in the final step by the purchase of Voluntary Emission Reduction*. "Triodos Vastgoedfonds has bought enough to compensate for the emission due to transportation of all renewable energy”, says Berkhout.

Improving the energy reduction performance of the portfolio buildings is a constant point of attention. The fund’s portfolio used a total of 7,994 MWh in energy in 2016, a slight deterioration compared with 2015 (7,948 MWh). Nevertheless, the average use of energy of the portfolio is 30% lower than the average for the Dutch office sector. Total office space in the Netherlands in 2016 amounted to around 57 million square meters. If all that space would be managed according to the fund’s CO2 neutral principle, 2,737 kilotons of CO2 emissions would be avoided. The fund’s CO2 neutral approach shows that real estate may contribute considerably to reducing CO2 emissions.

Zero energy portfolio

“The ultimate ambition of the fund is to realise an energy-neutral or zero-energy portfolio. In short, a Zero Energy Building produces an amount of renewable energy on site equal to the amount of energy it uses”, enthuses Berkhout.

To achieve this goal, Triodos Vastgoedfonds is considering additional investments to further reduce energy consumption of the buildings, increase their production of renewable energy and increase their energy storage facilities.

In the long term, the fund strives to integrate the portfolio buildings’ renewable energy resources and manage the portfolio as a ‘smart’ grid. What makes the grid smart is digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the electricity producer and electricity users.

Smart grids are widely considered to offer a great opportunity to move the energy industry to a new level of reliability, availability, and efficiency that will contribute to our economic and environmental health.

The fund's impact indicators as per end of 2016

  • CO2 emissions of 2,466 tons avoided
  • Total generation capacity solar energy 129 kWp
  • The average energy use of the buildings in portfolio is 30% lower than the average energy use of office buildings in the Netherlands

Know more about Triodos Vastgoedfonds

Launched in 2004, Triodos Vastgoedfonds is the first sustainable, listed property fund in Europe. The fund invests in sustainable property and focuses on commercial real estate, mainly offices, in the Netherlands. Triodos Vastgoedfonds is traded on the Euronext Amsterdam market in a closed-end structure. Click here for more details.

*Voluntary Emission Reductions or Verified Emission Reductions

Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) are carbon credits provided by emission reduction projects that have attained voluntary third party approval but have not been certified by official UN-backed offsetting schemes such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). They are the voluntary market equivalent of the certified emission reductions (CERs) awarded under de CDM. They are typically purchased by businesses and individuals seeking to offset their own carbon emissions.

One VER represents the emission of 1 ton of CO₂.

This article is based on an article written by Rumyana Hristova and published on www.gresb.com.