There is a misunderstanding on the market that Certification of buildings is expensive, costs are much higher and no one is interested in a better quality or more sustainable building. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are now hundreds of buildings in Finland, Sweden and Norway being certified. In Estonia Ulemiste retail centre, Rocce-al-Mare, Navigator office, Merko Parorama (on hold), Adamsoni 27 residential and various other projects are either certified or in process.
Statistics show again and again that a certified building has a higher sales value, better rental income, lower communal costs, easier sales process/liquidity, better staff productivity and a healthier environment. It works better, earns more income, improves the value of surrounding properties and is better for staff.
In reality LifeCycle costs should always be much lower if the process has been correctly implemented. Since Certification improves the design and construction process, construction costs may be lower or marginally higher, depending on the choices of the building owner and number of improvements.

Real costs

To prove the point, GBC Eesti is collecting data for certified projects and will display them here.

Project Certification
Cost during
design and
Cost savings
(15 years)
gain (+)
or loss (-)
Adamsoni 27
NQS Eesti
Breeam NC 2013
+€62,170 €17,111 +€48,191
Ulemiste retail centre Breeam 2009
+0,85% total
€2,140,000* +€1,840,000*
Navigator offices Leed +3% total
Estonian Opera House
Estonian National Library
TM8 Commercial
€3,750 +€42,000* +€38,250*
These figures are as accurately recorded as possible based on input from project leaders
Assumes operational costs rise at 3% above inflation per year
* Indicates estimated figure (based on results to date)

Benefits of certifications

Statistics and studies (see below) have shown an:
– Increase in sales value up to 21% (Breeam)
– Increase in rental income up to 18% (Breeam)
– Increase in staff productivity 7%
– Decrease in staff sick days per year 2.88
– Decrease in energy usage 50%
– Decrease in water usage 40%
– Decrease in waste 70%
– Decrease in greenhouse gas emissions 35%

Studies/systems used in this exercise

GRESB,, Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark system containing 18,000 buildings, with a total value over €500bn
IPD EcoPas,, Eco Portfolio Analysis Service, 2000 properties, value over €32bn
Maastrict University study, “Supply, Demand and the Value of Green Buildings” Chegut A, Eicholtz P, Kok N, published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, March 2012.
University of Notre Dame study of 600 buildings, GBC Eesti presentation, “Financial Considerations of Green Buildings”, 2014, Barrett, Brannigan, Olsen-Sawyer
Jones Lang LaSalle “The business of cities”, 2013, Moonen, Clark
Colliers 2012 study of certified buildings
John Lyons Aquarius Group calculation of workforce productivity, GBC Eesti presentation, “Financial Considerations of Green Buildings”, 2014, Barrett, Brannigan, Olsen-Sawyer
Eesti Green Building Council examination of practice in Nordic region, including Estonia
Costs, case studies and practice from various Estonian leading companies, including NCC, Oxford Sustainable, Hendrikson & Ko, Sorainen. Examples of Estonian developments during 2013 and 2014.
Jones Lang LaSalle 2013 survey of 400,000 employees in 140 organisations
Finnish Land use and Building Act
UK National Planning Policy Framework
Benchmarking developments in Estonia during 2013 and 2014.