The implementation of ecological standards in construction is increasingly becoming widespread in Russia.
Ten to fifteen years ago, the definition of sustainability in residential construction was focused on ensuring the safety of residents and the absence of toxic materials. Today, it encompasses a more multifaceted approach to housing design, including considerations for public spaces, green areas, and reducing carbon emissions.
The convergence of two disparate factors – government regulation mandating compliance with environmental standards and the marketing potential of promoting eco-friendly housing – has led to increased interest among developers in this area.
The government has established standards and a registry of experts.
The legal framework governing green building standards for multifamily housing is continuously evolving, with the new standard GOST R 70346-2022 coming into effect in November 2022. This standard includes 37 mandatory and 44 voluntary criteria in 10 categories that ensure compliance with sustainable development principles and create a comfortable and safe living environment in residential complexes.
These criteria cover areas such as landscaping, bicycle parking, and safe materials in construction and finishing. Living in such homes is not only safe and pleasant but also profitable, as green standards ensure higher energy efficiency, resulting in 20-40% savings in operating costs.
The authorities are also supporting the trend of increasing the energy efficiency of residential buildings. For instance, in St. Petersburg, the city committee of energy and engineering holds an annual competition for projects that improve energy efficiency, including the construction category.
By adopting a competent approach to planning and constructing housing, developers can save different types of resources in various ways, such as decentralizing water and wastewater supply, using wind turbines and solar panels, and reusing construction materials and soil.
To popularize the green approach, the construction community and industry experts are taking several measures. For example, the analytical portal Unified Builders’ Resource has created an electronic registry of smart new buildings in Russia, which currently includes 134 residential complexes in different regions of the country.
However, these measures are not unique, and Russian builders are following in the footsteps of their colleagues in other countries, including those with mediocre technology and environmental friendliness such as Cyprus. In Russia, the growing demand from buyers is driving the need for comfortable living spaces despite the challenging climate.
The basic criteria for compliance with green building standards by GOST R 70346-2022 are:
- 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
It is becoming increasingly important for builders to commit to environmentally friendly housing. In recent years, many major companies have actively promoted this agenda to potential buyers, highlighting the benefits of green construction.
One notable example is the St. Petersburg developer, investment company Euroinvest, which began working in the 90s and became a pioneer in the development of suburbs, including Murino and Kudrovo.
Euroinvest has been consistently limiting the height and density of their developments, sacrificing some profit to comply with environmental standards. Their development project in the southern part of Murino, approved this year, is indicative of this approach, with only a little over a fifth of land plots allocated to buildings, while the rest is dedicated to green spaces and road networks. Additionally, the maximum height of the buildings is strictly limited, with none of the residential buildings exceeding 12 floors.
Euroinvest was also one of the first companies in the country to develop a completely new concept of comfortable and environmentally friendly housing called 3id. This concept is based on several basic principles, including maximum use of modern technologies, including those related to smart home systems. This allows residents of Euroinvest buildings to interact with the managing company through a smartphone screen, among other benefits.
Another important aspect of the 3id concept is the creation of safe and comfortable living spaces throughout the residential complex, achieved by increasing the proportion of public areas in various formats. The company focuses on creating richer and more diverse green spaces, as well as infrastructure for children and their parents, including playgrounds and playrooms inside buildings. Euroinvest even includes common areas for living and socializing on the roofs of its buildings, equipping them with lounge areas and even full-fledged SPA complexes with swimming pools and saunas.
Continuous training and retraining is also a key aspect of eco-friendly living standards, and Euroinvest has embraced this trend by creating co-working and conference rooms for its residents. The company’s head, Andrey Berezin, has stated that the ID Murino complex features co-working rooms and public spaces, while the ID Park Pobedy complex will have a cluster of educational classes for children and adults on the first floors.
Euroinvest also recognizes the importance of charity and support for young talents in promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle. In the summer of 2022, the company announced its plan to build a new educational institution in St. Petersburg, the governor’s lyceum. Euroinvest will not only undertake the construction of the building but also pay for the institution’s ongoing expenses, including the salaries of teaching staff.