In its 20-plus years of business, Allreal has made a name for itself as a pioneer and forerunner in the development, planning and realisation of environmentally exemplary projects. Allreal Generalunternehmung AG is a member of the Minergie Association and has realised around 600 Minergie buildings in projects for itself or for third parties since 2000. These include the zero-heating-energy Eulachhof complex in Winterthur, which received the Swiss Solar Award and the Watt d’Or Award. Moreover, Allreal’s own Richti Wallisellen project became Switzerland’s first building complex which meets the targets of the 2000-watt society vision. In Mönchaltorf, Allreal realised one of the first residential complexes to comply with the Minergie A standard.
As Switzerland’s third-largest listed property company (in terms of the market value of yield-producing real estate) with its own Projects & Development division, Allreal is aware of its environmental responsibilities. Sustainable construction, whether with high-quality construction materials or the use of re-newable energy sources, seems to contradict the goal of cost-efficient construction, but only at first glance. The higher production costs are usually more than compensated for in the medium to long term by the lower operating expenses and longer life expectancy of the building.
Between 2017 and 2019, Allreal realised a new district on the former industrial site of the Bülachguss foundry in Bülach-Nord. The project, which was developed in-house, comprises 19 apartment buildings with a total of 493 rental apartments and condominiums, as well as the refurbishment of a partially listed former industrial building.
Heating and domestic hot water for the entire Bülachguss site are produced by means of groundwater heat pumps. When outdoor temperatures are low, a gas-heating system covers peak loads. Heat is distributed via its own anergy network.
An anergy network is a low-temperature district heating network, to which several buildings are connected via a closed-circuit pipeline. In the case of Bülachguss, heat is obtained from the groundwater stream of the Glatt river. If a building requires heating or cooling, this is drawn from the anergy network and made available via heat pumps. Waste heat which is produced when air-conditioning is used in office buildings or commercial sites is also stored in the system.
All new buildings were constructed to Minergie-Eco standard, and the renovated building to Minergie standard. Further to the Minergie standard, buildings certified to Minergie-Eco standard also fulfil specific requirements in terms of health and construction ecology.
Allreal transferred four buildings comprising 76 rental apartments to the yield-producing real estate portfolio; a further five buildings comprising a total of 73 apartments were sold as condominiums. The sale of the remaining 343 rental apartments and the commercial building to an institutional investor while still in the construction phase is a further indication that real estate which is planned, realised and operated in an environmentally responsible and resource-saving manner is profitable in the long-term.
Successful remediation of contaminated sites
Having housed a foundry for around 80 years, the Bülachguss site was contaminated by pollutants. Moreover, construction materials which are no longer permitted today were used when some of the buildings were erected. Allreal completely decontaminated the entire area so that it could be removed from the register of contaminated sites. All in all, 55,000 tonnes of polluted material was decontaminated and disposed of or recycled. When producing the 38,000 cubic metres of concrete required for the new buildings, it was possible to use around 25% of the secondary raw materials from the contaminated waste. Furthermore, around 10,000 cubic metres of recycled gravel was produced from the concrete and mixed rubble on the site.
Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by renovating buildings and infrastructure in yield-producing properties. To this end, facilities are operated in a way which optimises energy as much as possible. By adopting this approach, Allreal is ensuring that the people inside the rented spaces are adequately comfortable while at the same time ensuring the buildings are operated in an energy-efficient way. For new-build projects, especially those it develops in-house, Allreal is applying high standards and using future-oriented technologies.
There are three main drivers for real estate energy consumption:
As a significant proportion of the energy is required to heat the buildings, the environmental conditions during winter have a direct effect on consumption. The majority of changes in energy consumption are directly dependent on the accumulation of heating degree days.
Building operation and user behaviour
In addition to basic energy consumption, the occupancy of a rental space is primarily relevant to consumption. This cannot be directly influenced by the building owner.
The buildings and related infrastructure are upgraded according to the respective age of construction or renovation. In general, newer buildings account for lower specific energy consumption than older buildings. This is where the largest potential lies for reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Through major periodic refurbishments, the building materials and infrastructure in the portfolio properties are continuously modernised and adapted to the latest technology.
The reported energy consumption covers all yield-producing properties which were owned by Allreal in the financial year up to 31 December. In the 2019 financial year, these were 18 residential and 38 commercial properties with a total of 728,322 square metres of rentable space. Buildings which were not rented out during the reporting period owing to complete renovations or refurbishments are not included.
If properties were transferred to the portfolio of yield-producing properties during the accounting period, these are included in the energy balance for the first time if consumption data is available for an entire billing period. As such, it may be that the number of properties with an energy evaluation is lower than the number of properties reported in the Annual Report.
Energy consumption contains the following components:
- Primary energy demand for room heating and electrical energy for heat pump systems
- Electrical energy used in the common areas and in general infrastructure, such as stairwells, corridors, lifts, refrigeration equipment and ventilation systems
The consumption of electrical energy inside the rented spaces is not taken into account. Tenants obtain this energy directly from suppliers.
Energy consumption and CO2 emissions were recorded in line with the recommendations of Life Cycle Assessment Data in the Construction Sector 2009/1:2016 from KBOB/eco-bau/IPB. This defines key figures for various energy sources – such as natural gas, heating oil, district heating and electricity – which take into account energy production, as well as distribution and provision.
All of the energy sources that supply the buildings in Allreal's portfolio are purchased from third parties. Allreal neither owns nor manages its own energy production plants, such as cogeneration plants, and therefore does not cause any direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The indirect energy-related greenhouse gas emissions refer exclusively to the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2). Other gases relevant to the greenhouse effect are not accounted for.
The amount of CO2 emissions is calculated as a CO2 equivalent based on the energy sources and the allocated key figures. The reporting and establishment of key figures is carried out in the same way as for reported energy consumption.
As no other relevant gases aside from CO2 are emitted, it is not necessary to consider the global warming potential (GWP) and its effects over a period of 100 years.
Reporting is carried out exclusively using the Allreal portfolio under review, and does not contain any traded GHG emissions or any other indirect GHG emissions.