How did two properties built by Premico obtain Finland’s first BREEAM certificates for the design phase of residential apartment buildings?

When the first two BREEAM certificates for the design phase of residential apartment buildings were awarded in Finland, both of these were assigned to properties developed by Premico; Asunto Oy Espoon Zeniitti and Asunto Oy Kokkovuori. Creating construction instructions complient with the BREEAM system was the key to our success.

Environmental responsibility of real estate has been a guiding feature of Premico’s business for a long time. The idea for real estate certification came particularly from the needs of international customers and business partners.

“In order for the environmental effects of the properties to be internationally comparable, we started researching the possibilities of environmental certification for residential properties,” explains Markku Kainulainen, project manager working with Premico’s residential projects.

Creating construction guidelines compliant with the BREEAM system is key to success

Together with his team, Kainulainen created instructions for the construction of residential apartment buildings according to BREEAM criteria. This instruction is the first of its kind in Finland and has deservedly resulted in certificates for Asunto Oy Espoon Zeniitti and Asunto Oy Kokkovuori. From the beginning, the instructions for building were created with cooperation between Premico and a local BREEAM expert.

“In these instructions, we took into account all aspects of the processes environmental impact, such as property management, energy use, traffic, land and material use, defining all the necessary measures to achieve the selected classification level. Once the guidelines were created, we trained the contractor and our own personnel for construction according to the guidelines for each site. The guide has become part of the construction of all new Premico properties, regardless of whether certification is applied for. We are also constantly developing the guidelines,” adds Kainulainen.

The BREEAM classification is based on European standards and is therefore Europe’s most important environmental classification system for construction.

“The BREEAM standard is well suited to Finnish construction and is therefore our primary choice. When obtaining the BREEAM certificate, these strict requirements need to be taken into account and verified in the design phase, even before construction begins.’’ Kainulainen goes on to say, ‘’On the other hand, if the construction of the building has already started, we will make use of the LEED certificate. LEED is an American certification system with requirements that are able to be implemented in the project even in the later stages of construction.’’

BREEAM certificates for the design phase are awarded to the site during the construction phase, based on an audit by a local BREEAM Assessor. Both Premico projects received a Very Good-level certification in the planning phase, which, according to Kainulainen, is a significant achievement in residential production.

“Our expectations are high, because in the future our aim is to achieve BREEAM’s highest level possible in housing production, that being – Excellent-level.” In the real estate sector, BREEAM certifications, especially for business premises, have been done for a long time, but certification in residential production has only just begun. “Creating construction instructions compliant with the BREEAM system has been the key to our success,” Kainulainen emphasizes.

The certification of the completed project initiates the monitoring period

The next BREEAM certification, the final certification of the construction period, can only be applied for after project completion. According to Kainulainen, this practically means that the local BREEAM Assessor audits the finished object, comparing it carefully with the original plans. The purpose of this audit is to ascertain if we have constructed the building as we have planned and if the building still deserves its certification. Asunto Oy Espoon Zeniitti applied for the final BREEAM certificate at the beginning of 2023. After the certification of the completed object, the monitoring period begins. For example, unlike normal construction, the functionality of the building technology is tested with four separate functional tests: in extreme conditions during both winter and summer, and in normal use during spring and autumn. Residents’ comfort is also monitored with resident satisfaction surveys.

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Premico in Brief

Premico is a real estate investment, development and management company specializing in residential assets with an emphasis on decarbonizing the residential sector and constructing affordable multifamily properties ensuring comfortable housing for all. Premico’s roots are in the rental housing services, but today Premico has three business areas: investing, development and living. Premico employs a total of nearly 50 real estate professionals.

Premico’s third housing fund, Premico Residential Fund III, is aiming to build approximately 1,700 new residential apartments by 2025, mainly in the capital region. The fund is committed to the carbon neutrality of its residential properties in terms of energy use during operation and to reducing the carbon footprint also during the construction phase of the properties. All the objects of the fund will have energy efficiency class A, BREEAM or LEED certificate and they will comply with the new construction criteria of the EU taxonomy.


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