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Sustainable property – Header image (photo)

Sustainable property

Impact measures

Triodos finances approximately 2,400 homes (2013: 2,200) and about 120 commercial properties comprising approximately 150,000m2 of office and other commercial space – enough for around 7,500 people.

We also finance 1,400 hectares (2013: 1,000) of nature/conservation land. That’s around 27m2 of nature/conservation land for every customer – about the size of a small garden.

Sustainable property – Impact measures (graphic)

Our vision and activities

Sustainable property lending

Percentage of our loans to the sustainable property sector

Sustainable property – 9.4% of our loans to the sustainable property sector (pie chart)

Lending by subsector

Sustainable property – Lending by subsector (pie chart)
% derived from data at the time of publication

Our vision on sustainable property

Buildings currently consume 40% of all energy that is produced in the EU and contribute a similar proportion of Europe’s carbon emissions. If we are to make the transition to a genuinely sustainable economy, we need to address how we build and maintain buildings.

High-tech sustainable developments

Technologies and techniques are available to build new properties using sustainable materials and design. These buildings consume much lower amounts of energy and emit less carbon, making a major impact on a traditionally highly carbon inefficient industry. This presents an exciting opportunity for Triodos Bank to be part of building the future.

Preserving the old, updating the new

The majority of buildings around us today are still likely to be here in 50 years’ time and many historic buildings will continue to be preserved for the cultural role that they play.

For existing properties, renovation and retrofitting projects can dramatically improve the sustainability of a building – including insulation measures, low-energy lighting and heating, advanced control systems and low-energy appliances. The way in which a property is used also plays a huge role in its overall impact; for example, the degree to which an office building is kept fully occupied and uses telecommunication technology such as videoconferencing to reduce business travel.

Our activities

Triodos Bank finances new building developments for properties to the highest sustainability standards. We also finance the renovation or redevelopment of existing properties so that they become more energy efficient.

A sustainable roof over your head

Some branches also provide mortgages to private individuals, in particular incentivising high sustainability standards and support those seeking to improve the sustainability rating of their home.

Case studies

The Lodge: a sustainable real estate project for people with disabilities
 

Sustainable property – Case study The Lodge: a sustainable real estate project for people with disabilities (photo)

The Lodge is an energy efficient real estate project for people with disabilities, developed by real estate developers, Leiegoed. We discussed this Triodos Bank-financed project with Leiegoed’s Manager, Luc Peerlinck.

What was the challenge for this project?

“Ethical building is of fundamental importance to us as a real estate company. Today sustainability and ecology are becoming increasingly important, which is why we choose to develop sustainable, low energy buildings. We are building 14 residences to rent: eight apartments, six studios and a communal area. What makes The Lodge special is that half the residences are reserved for people with a physical or learning disability. At the moment, hardly any residences are available to disabled people and we want to change that.”

What makes your approach innovative?

“Most importantly we build sustainable, low energy buildings with framed walls made from wood and concrete floor panels. Wooden framing is relatively new, and challenging to deliver because of fire safety and structural considerations. But we have succeeded.

Because of this, we can guarantee low energy usage. We also work with affordable rents making these homes accessible to many more people.

On the ground floor, we will also build a communal area that is accessible for wheelchair users. This area can be used for different purposes: as a recreation room, for a doctor's appointment or a therapy session. Half of the residences will be reserved for people with disabilities. Some residents might need extra help or assistance, that is why the other half can also be rented out to a family member or a carer.”

What is the impact Triodos Bank has on your project?

“The original buildings were bought by Leiegoed, and they will be demolished before we can start working on the site. Triodos Bank is financing a little over half of the total budget; which will amount to about EUR 2 million.

We had to prove our genuine engagement, to obtain Triodos Bank as a financial partner. The fact that we consciously chose to build a sustainable, low energy building for people with a disability was decisive in agreeing the finance we needed.”

What impact does your project have on the real estate sector?

“There are barely any homes available for people with disabilities. But I am convinced that other companies in the real estate sector will follow us. The social impact of diverse homes is crucial in today's society, so I hope that our project is an incentive for similar initiatives.”

What impact does your project have on society?

“In the healthcare sector, people with disabilities are usually on a long waiting list. The Lodge can address this wider problem. For us, a sustainable society is one that pays attention to the individual and the environment. Everybody needs his own place and has a right to a quality, sustainable and affordable home. We also want to encourage contact between residents. That is why we create a communal area, affordable rents and a low energy building at The Lodge. This way, we want to encourage people to connect and raise awareness about energy efficient living.”

In which way do you share the same vision as Triodos Bank?

“We choose ethical building the way Triodos Bank chooses ethical banking. That is how we found our optimal partner for "The Lodge".”

De Hallen
 

Sustainable property – Case study De Hallen (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

How do you transform a vacant listed building into a sustainable, inspiring multi-purpose complex? That was the challenge facing the people renovating De Hallen, a former horse-car depot in Amsterdam Oud-West (‘Old West’) dating back to the early twentieth century.

It was a challenge they found a way to meet, reopening and reinventing the once decrepit building in 2014, and transforming it into the vibrant heart of the Oud-West district. A public library, a literary bar, a restaurant, a TV studio, a children's day care centre, an art library, workshops for fashion designers and craftsmen, and a mall can all be found in De Hallen. Various activities are hosted in the mall including a weekend market featuring organic products from the local area. Because it is so accessible to the public, the building is an inspiring meeting place that enhances social cohesion and improves the living environment in the district.

The renovation project was started by André van Stigt in close collaboration with local residents, future users of the complex and the municipality of Amsterdam. And the TROM (Stichting TramRemise OntwikkelingsMaatschappij), the foundation for the redevelopment of the former depot, was the body responsible for the renovation, management and operation of the De Hallen complex.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

André van Stigt explains: “The renovated De Hallen complex is an energy-efficient building. CO2 emissions have been reduced by over 50% and we have managed to raise the energy efficiency performance of this listed building from G to A, which is the best energy label that could be achieved for an old building with spaces that are difficult to heat. De Hallen has various features to optimise energy efficiency, including solar cells, heat/cold storage and LED lighting. As part of the renovation, the building was insulated to a high standard.

“De Hallen is not only an innovative project in terms of energy efficiency, but also when it comes to financing. For instance, the income from the rental of the bar, restaurant and hotel is used to provide affordable workshops where new entrepreneurs in the creative industries can carry out their work. And the renovation was largely financed from private funds rather than government grants, which is also unprecedented. In addition to finance from private investors, funds were provided through loans from Triodos Bank, Triodos Groenfonds and RNF (Nationaal Restauratiefonds), the national restoration fund.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

“Social cohesion and local involvement were the leading principles that TROM, the foundation responsible for redeveloping De Hallen, applied during the renovation. These principles are still key now that the complex is operational. Both principles are put into practice in the renovated complex, which enhances social cohesion in the local area, and benefits from the fact that local residents were actively involved in the renovation.

“These principles are also reflected in the early involvement of the financing partners who build on the sustainable design and implementation plans for the complex at an early stage. Besides providing capital, Triodos Bank and Triodos Groenfonds played a crucial role in ensuring a speedy completion of the building process, actively contributed to ideas about how to make the operation of the complex feasible, and were flexible and responsive enough to provide additional funding to enable the completion of the Parisienzaal, part of the art house cinema.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

“De Hallen presents the real estate development sector with an inspiring example of a sustainable renovation of a listed building. The renovation was innovative, from a technology perspective and resulted in an energy-efficient complex. De Hallen demonstrates that it’s possible to redevelop a large complex, give it a contemporary function, and do it in a financially viable way without needing major grants.

What impact has your business had on the community?

“As I mentioned, the renovated De Hallen is an inspiring meeting place that enhances social cohesion in the city and in the neighbourhood. But its social contribution is much broader.

“A good example is the educational opportunity it provides. The number of people in The Netherlands equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to restore and maintain listed buildings is dwindling. The number of students applying for degrees in crafts is also declining. To counteract this trend, workshops for craftsmen and apprentices have been set up at De Hallen.

“The building company is providing training on the job, including in De Hallen, to get young people excited again about doing specialised maintenance work. In school and in the workshops, work is ongoing on various projects relating to the restoration and redevelopment of all manner of listed buildings in Amsterdam. In addition, various users of the complex offer jobs to people who are often excluded from the labour market.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

“Triodos Bank finances project that help promote a better quality of life. Listed buildings like De Hallen enhance the living environment and make the local area a more inspiring place to be.

“Listed buildings also have a cultural and historic value. They are often landmark buildings which people feel connected to and that define a city's skyline. That makes it important to keep them and give them a contemporary function so that they can help to build more vibrant and connected communities. Moreover, a building that is pleasant place to be also directly contributes to the quality of life of local residents and the people working in, and visiting, the building. That is another important reason why Triodos Bank invests in sustainable real estate.

“The built environment is responsible for 30% of total energy consumption. By developing energy-efficient buildings, sustainable renovation of existing properties makes a major contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions.”

Methodology

In our calculations, we have assumed an average floor space per office worker of 20m2.