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Austrian Society for Sustainable Real Estate (ÖGNI) expands Real Estate Certification to include human and wind comfort

The quality label of the Austrian Society for Sustainable Real Estate is the most widely-used in Austria. Building owners use it to assess and distinguish their real estate following various sustainability criteria such as impact on global and local environment or the use of resources. The concept and effect of micro climate will be now included in the certification process far more intensely than previously: Buildings resp. urban districts can now be expected to offer good human comfort and wind comfort.

Weatherpark with its team of experts has decisively developed the new ÖGNI-Steckbrief (detailed checklist). Managing director Simon Tschannett explains what building owners can do to create a pleasant climate around a building in spite of heat: “Appropriate greening can bring about a lot. Trees and shrubs with suitable height and density provide shade and additionally affect air quality in a positive way. Furthermore, water – for example fountains -, has positive effects on the climate.”

Thermal comfort in a structured environment gains importance because temperatures are expected to rise due to climate change and future summers will be significantly hotter on average than in the past. However, ambient heat often feels more extreme in towns than in less built-up areas: even if the temperature is the same, the so-called RealFeel Temperature differs. With high air humidity or much direct solar radiation, little wind, or no wind at all, people will perceive heat as even hotter than it is.

In addition to thermal comfort, wind comfort is a significant factor for a pleasant micro-climate. Form, size and shape of the planned structures determine the wind situation around buildings. Depending on the design, wind can be reinforced or weakened on open areas. Stormy weather conditions may make any stay on, for example, balconies, playgrounds, passage-ways, entrance areas and open-air restaurants unpleasant because of the low wind comfort. With appropriate analysis and planning prior to construction, this can be avoided, thus raising the value of real estate and its occupancy rate.

The new urban district Central Railway Station Vienna and many other urban development areas as well as individual new buildings have been already adjusted to offer pleasant wind comfort.

Background information on ÖGNI and the certification process:

The Austrian Society for Sustainable Real Estate ÖGNI is a non-profit association, wishing to create framework conditions to establish the idea of sustainability with all stake-holders in the Austrian building and real estate sector. The objectives are put into practice by voluntary work of its members, research funding, Marketing and PR as well as education and training and the staging of events and conferences. ÖGNI is an established Member of the World Green Building Council. As one of the main tools the (international) certification system for real estate (German Sustainable Building Council DGNB, blueCARD) is applied. In this process structures and urban districts are rated in six topic areas: process- and location quality under ecological, economic, socio-cultural and functional, technical aspects. The revised “Steckbrief” Micro-climate SOC 1.8 is applicable in the updates of the system variants NBV (Neubau Büro- und Verwaltungsgebäude: new construction of office and administrative buildings), NHO (Neubau Hotelgebäude: new construction of hotel buildings) and NOW (Neubau Wohngebäude: new construction of residential buildings).