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Making your real estate business sustainable in 3 steps

The climate is changing drastically. Fortunately, the government is increasingly taking responsibility for this, which is reflected in legislation. Therefore, by 2023 office buildings must have energy label C or better. Energy consumption must then be no more than 225 kWh per square meter per year. Is this more? Then, in principle, the office must be closed. It is therefore important that you, as a real estate owner, make your building more sustainable. How and why? We describe that below in three easy steps.


Step 1: look at opportunities within sustainability

Energy is constantly being generated and used. There is a lot of pollution in the Netherlands and this causes a high amount of unnecessary emissions. Small adjustments already provide large savings. Fortunately, there are several ways to make your property more sustainable and thus prevent unnecessary emissions. Below are some of the possibilities.

Avoid wasting energy

We use electricity all day long; plugs are plugged in, lights are on, in cold rooms radiators produce heat for us almost all day long and so on. Added together, this costs a lot of energy, which can easily be saved:

  • Many buildings still have lights on at night. Use light sensors so that lights are not left on unnecessarily.
  • Make sure you have good insulation. This will keep the heat in well and the heating won't have to work as hard.
  • Consider in which rooms it is necessary to have the heating on; is the room not or hardly used? Then this room does not need to be heated.
  • Unplug the appliance when not in use. Even when an appliance is off, it consumes energy.
  • Reduce printing. Consider whether your printing is really necessary and whether you can solve it digitally. Less printing not only saves paper and ink, but also energy.
  • Check air conditioning. Many commercial buildings have one or more air conditioners. Very pleasant on hot days, but also a huge energy eater. So check regularly that the air conditioning is still working efficiently.

There are, of course, many other ways to avoid wasting energy.

Use energy-efficient techniques

Developments within the energy sector are rapid. There are a number of techniques for living energy efficiently. Two are listed below:

Replace the central heating boiler with an HE boiler

A boiler (central heating boiler), is the source of heat in a property, for both hot water use and heating. To make your premises more sustainable and save energy, it pays to replace your central heating boiler for a high performance boiler. This is because a high efficiency boiler requires less gas to heat the water in the boiler than a central heating boiler. This makes a high-efficiency boiler more energy efficient than a central heating boiler. This is because a central heating boiler converts about 89% of the energy into useful heat. With an HE boiler this is more than 100% because the HE boiler uses the heat from exhaust gases as an extra energy source, whereas normally this disappears through the chimney.

Use LED bulbs

Regular light bulbs do not last long, about 3,000 hours. With an energy-saving bulb, it's a little more, at 10,000 hours. LED bulbs, on the other hand, last up to 25,000 hours. Not only does this save on changing bulbs, but an LED bulb uses much less power. Also, LED bulbs do not contain toxic substances like mercury. A substance that is very harmful to the environment and is used in other light sources.

Generate your own energy

Leaving the space on your roof unused is a waste. Put your roof to good use by having a solar roof. One way to do this is to rent out your roof for solar panels or start your own project. A solar roof saves you energy costs and you contribute directly to reducing CO2 emissions. Have your roof checked by an expert, because often more is possible than you think. The expert will also tell you what a solar roof can do for you. Novar can help you with this. A solar roof ensures that the building itself generates the energy used in the building. Sometimes this is even more than its own use, in which case you can share it with the surrounding area. This way, not only you, but also the environment can benefit from sustainable energy.

Step 2: funding

For large-scale projects, there are various subsidy schemes you can apply for when making your premises more sustainable. It is determined on the basis of tests whether you are entitled to these. There are a number of subsidies to which you are often entitled as a property owner:

  • The SDE++ subsidy was created to make it possible to become more sustainable, including for sustainable real estate. SDE stands for Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Transition. This includes the option of receiving a subsidy for a solar roof, as well as biomass and wind energy, for example.
  • Through the Environmental Investment Allowance (MIA), it is possible to save on taxable profit after a sustainable investment measure. As a result, you pay less profit tax over that year. Up to 36% of the total investment amount can be deducted.
  • VAMIL allows an investment to be depreciated up to 75%. The earlier it is depreciated, the lower the tax gain and the more tax benefit you get.

Combining MIA and VAMIL

The MIA and VAMIL are both on the Environmental List. For this reason, these tax benefits can often be combined with each other. If you meet all the established conditions, then it is allowed to combine both and benefit twice. For example, the technology used must be on the environmental list and it must be a new component, which has not been used within your property before.

Step 3: the sustainability bonus

Some property owners are reluctant when it comes to sustainability. In many cases, they look at the payback period based on energy savings. What they then run into is that primarily the tenant of the property benefits from the low energy bills, while the owner incurs the costs. However, there is more than just the savings on gas and electricity. To take stock of the benefits of making your property sustainable, it is a good idea to take into account the full "sustainability bonus. This bonus consists of four parts, which are assessed to see how high you score after, for example, investing in a solar roof. The four parts consist of:

The energy savings

Small investments can already yield a jump toward energy label C. In addition, small investments such as good insulation, the use of LED lighting and light switches result in lower energy consumption and reduce unnecessary power consumption. And if you want to make a bigger leap toward an even better energy label and even more energy savings, larger projects like a solar roof can contribute.

The competitive position in the local market

Sustainability is high on the list of important pillars for potential tenants. By being proactive in your dealings with sustainability, you communicate to the outside world that you, too, have this high priority. Sustainability can ensure more satisfied tenants, and therefore a lower chance that companies will leave for another office.

The future rental income

It makes money by investing in renewable energy. Because you spend less on the energy supply of your property, you notice this back at the bottom line in the rental income. In addition, you can charge a higher rent for properties with more amenities.

Value development

Sustainability, lower energy costs, good competitiveness, low vacancy rates and good rental income ultimately contribute to the increase in a property's value. In the future, sustainability will be even higher on the list of requirements, both for the law and for the tenant. It will be increasingly prominent, as is already increasingly evident in everyday life. By being ahead of the curve, you contribute to increasing property values.

Get started with sustainability

Preservation is possible in small and large steps. Whatever options you choose, every adjustment is one. If you do your bit, in the grand scheme of things, you are making for a cleaner earth and a better climate. In addition, you are also taking steps toward the 2023 sustainability goal. Start taking the first steps today within making your real estate more sustainable and reap the benefits!

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