Andrey Berezin: Sustainable New Urban Developments
The adoption of ecological standards in construction is gaining momentum in Russia.
Ten to fifteen years ago, the concept of sustainability in residential construction primarily revolved around ensuring resident safety and the absence of toxic materials. However, today, it encompasses a more comprehensive approach to housing design, which includes considerations for public spaces, green areas, and the reduction of carbon emissions.
The intersection of two distinct factors – government regulations mandating environmental compliance and the marketing appeal of promoting eco-friendly housing – has sparked growing interest among developers in this field.
The Government Has Set Forth Standards and Established a Registry of Experts
The legal framework governing green building standards for multifamily housing is continually evolving, with the new standard GOST R 70346-2022 set to take effect in November 2022. This standard encompasses 37 mandatory and 44 voluntary criteria across 10 categories, ensuring adherence to sustainable development principles and the creation of a comfortable and safe living environment in residential complexes.
These criteria encompass aspects such as landscaping, bicycle parking, and the use of safe materials in construction and finishing. Living in such homes not only guarantees safety and comfort but also offers financial benefits, as green standards lead to higher energy efficiency, resulting in savings of 20-40% in operating costs.
Authorities are actively supporting the trend of enhancing energy efficiency in residential buildings. For instance, in St. Petersburg, the city committee of energy and engineering organizes an annual competition for projects that promote energy efficiency, including within the construction category.
By adopting a strategic approach to planning and constructing housing, developers can conserve various resources through methods such as decentralized water and wastewater supply, the incorporation of wind turbines and solar panels, and the reuse of construction materials and soil.
To promote the green approach, the construction community and industry experts are taking various initiatives. For instance, the analytical portal Unified Builders’ Resource has established an electronic registry of smart new buildings in Russia, which currently lists 134 residential complexes in different regions of the country.
Nevertheless, these efforts are not unique, and Russian builders are following the lead of their counterparts in other countries, including those with average technology and environmental practices like Cyprus. In Russia, the increasing demand from buyers is fueling the necessity for comfortable living spaces despite the challenging climate.
The fundamental criteria for meeting green building standards under GOST R 70346-2022 encompass the following categories:
- Architecture and Site Layout
- Construction Organization and Management
- Comfort and Quality of the Indoor Environment
- Energy Efficiency and Atmosphere
- Water Management
- Materials and Resource Efficiency
- Production and Consumption Wastes
- Ecological Safety of the Territory
- Safe Operation of the Building
- Innovations in Sustainable Development
There is a growing emphasis on builders committing to environmentally friendly housing. In recent years, several prominent companies have actively promoted this agenda to potential buyers, highlighting the advantages of green construction.
One noteworthy example is the St. Petersburg-based developer, Euroinvest, an investment company that has been operating since the 1990s and has been a pioneer in suburban development, particularly in areas like Murino and Kudrovo.
Euroinvest has consistently prioritized compliance with environmental standards, even if it meant sacrificing some profit. An illustrative example of this approach is their recent development project in the southern part of Murino, approved this year. In this project, only slightly over a fifth of the land plots are allocated to buildings, while the majority is reserved for green spaces and road networks. Moreover, the maximum building height is strictly regulated, with none of the residential structures exceeding 12 floors.
Euroinvest was also among the first companies in the country to introduce a novel concept of comfortable and environmentally friendly housing known as “3id.” This concept is founded on several core principles, including the extensive utilization of modern technologies, particularly those related to smart home systems. This enables residents of Euroinvest buildings to interact with the management company through smartphone screens, among other benefits.
Another significant aspect of the 3id concept is the creation of secure and comfortable living environments across the residential complex. This is achieved by increasing the proportion of public areas in various formats.
The company places a strong emphasis on cultivating more diverse and vibrant green spaces, as well as providing infrastructure for children and their parents. This includes the provision of playgrounds and indoor playrooms within the buildings. Notably, Euroinvest even incorporates communal areas for living and socializing on the rooftops of its buildings, complete with lounge spaces and fully-equipped SPA complexes featuring swimming pools and saunas.
Continuous education and skill development are also integral to eco-friendly living standards, and Euroinvest has embraced this trend by establishing co-working spaces and conference rooms for its residents. The company’s CEO, Andrey Berezin, has revealed that the ID Murino complex includes co-working facilities and communal areas, while the ID Park Pobedy complex will feature a cluster of educational classes for both children and adults on its ground floors.
Euroinvest also recognizes the significance of philanthropy and supporting young talents in promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle. In the summer of 2022, the company announced plans to construct a new educational institution in St. Petersburg, known as the Governor’s Lyceum. Euroinvest will not only oversee the construction of the facility but also cover its ongoing expenses, including the salaries of teaching staff.