Energy consumption: towards greener real estate

  • CSR
  • Energy


Committed to reducing their CO2 emissions, real estate sector players have been quick to implement solutions for optimising building energy consumption. The past few years have marked a major shift in energy management.

The development of green energy sources, the optimisation of building energy performance and the promotion of sustainable practices are now the pillars of a resolutely greener real estate sector. These initiatives, aligned with global environmental objectives, illustrate a commitment to sustainable real estate while meeting current economic and regulatory requirements.

Current state of energy consumption in the real estate sector

The building sector emits more than 123 million tonnes of C02 every year[1].

At a time when concerns about climate change are intensifying, real estate sector players have a duty to adopt sustainable strategies to reduce their energy footprint. This approach is all the more important given that the real estate sector is a leading consumer of energy and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 60% of a building’s carbon footprint is linked to its operation (and therefore largely to the energy consumption of its occupants) and 40% to its construction.

The legislative framework in France, in particular the so-called “Tertiary Decree”, underlines these imperatives. This decree, which is part of the ELAN law on the evolution of housing, development and the digital economy, requires commercial buildings to significantly reduce their energy consumption by 2030 (-40%), 2040 (-50%) and 2050 (-60%). It also encourages the owners of commercial buildings to work with their tenants to adopt energy efficiency measures and to closely monitor their energy consumption.

There have also been significant developments in energy regulations in the other countries in which Covivio operates, in some cases under the impetus of the European Union. The European Taxonomy, for example, defines a green building primarily in terms of its energy performance. The revision of the EPBD (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) also aims to give a boost at European level to achieve an energy-efficient and low-carbon real estate stock by 2050. Covivio has implemented various measures to meet these requirements, while setting its own ambitions in line with the Group’s carbon trajectory.

Strategic management of energy consumption at Covivio

The action taken by Covivio regarding the energy consumption of its assets is based on innovation and sustainability, aiming to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the Group’s real estate portfolio. Covivio has developed a proactive environmental policy and implemented solutions to reduce the energy consumption of its assets and decarbonise the energy sources used.

Modernising the portfolio

One of the pillars of Covivio’s strategy to achieve more sustainable real estate is the modernisation of its buildings. This approach is part of an energy renovation strategy focused on improving the performance of buildings in operation. By redeveloping its assets, Covivio aims not only to reduce energy consumption but also to improve user comfort.

Measures such as thermal insulation, modernising heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and optimising lighting control are at the heart of this modernisation drive. These measures can be included in a long-term works plan or as part of a complete refurbishment of the property. Such measures meet regulatory requirements while helping to combat climate change.

BMS: reducing carbon footprint through more efficient use of resources

The deployment of building management systems (BMS) is part of a sustained effort by Covivio to reduce the carbon footprint of its real estate activities. By implementing a high-performance monitoring system for its multi-tenant properties, Covivio is able to monitor energy consumption closely.

Not only does this proactive approach make it possible to intervene effectively to improve energy performance, it is also essential for understanding consumption patterns and developing optimisation strategies.

Setting precise, measurable targets is central to this policy: Covivio has taken an important step forward with the introduction of a platform for centralising energy data from its German residential portfolio (over 40,000 homes). This tool has revolutionised portfolio management, enabling the analysis of consumption data and the modelling of investment scenarios to improve building energy efficiency and sustainability.

Use of renewable energy

Covivio is committed to the use of renewable energy as a vital lever for increasing the sustainability of its real estate assets. Renewable energy plays a key role in reducing the carbon footprint of a building. Covivio systematically reviews renewable energy opportunities such as geothermal energy and photovoltaic solar energy in its development and renovation projects, in accordance with environmental characteristics and regulatory constraints.

The Garibaldi Towers in Milan: In the financial centre of Milan, the Garibaldi Towers built in 1984 and 1994 stand out for their integration of sustainable solutions. The renovation project carried out in 2012 improved the energy efficiency of the Towers by insulating the façades and installing bioclimatic windows, while reducing the carbon footprint of the energy mix by installing photovoltaic panels.

In 2023, Covivio generated 1.3 GWh of electricity through the photovoltaic panels installed in its real estate portfolio.

Energy-saving awareness among users

The involvement of clients and users in Covivio’s energy consumption reduction strategy is a key element of its environmental approach. By including clients as active stakeholders in this approach, the Company is raising public awareness of the importance of energy efficiency as a means of developing sustainable real estate.

A crucial component of this awareness-raising drive is the creation of environmental committees. These committees play a vital role in bringing building users together to discuss and implement green initiatives. They provide a collaborative platform for sharing best practices and innovations in sustainability.

In addition, Covivio provides its clients with welcome booklets containing instructions and recommendations for optimising environmental performance. These booklets are designed to educate and encourage occupants to adopt eco-responsible behaviour, particularly in terms of heating and air conditioning control, use of lighting and office automation.

Covivio is committed to responsible energy management in support of sustainability. By modernising its infrastructures, adopting the use of renewable energies and using advanced technologies such as BMS, the Group is working to reduce its carbon footprint. The L’Atelier [The Workshop] project in Paris is a prime example of this approach. Covivio’s new European headquarters embodies the Company’s energy efficiency drive, with a 40% increase in energy performance, connection to district heating and cooling systems and BBCA certification. These initiatives illustrate Covivio’s commitment to combining innovation, sustainability and environmental responsibility in the real estate sector.