Meet the new Chairman of the EPRA PropTech & Innovation Committee
We met with Andreas Hoffmann, Head of Property at Cromwell European REIT and Supervisory Board member of the smart building PropTech Spaceti, winner of the global MIPIM Startup Competition in 2019. In November 2021, Andreas was appointed as the new Chairman of the EPRA PropTech & Innovation Committee.
What are your objectives as Chairman of the EPRA PropTech Committee?
It is an honour for me to succeed Marc De Bosscher as Chairman of the EPRA PropTech Committee, who successfully served this role for the first two years. I thank Marc for bringing the PropTech Committee up to where it is today, along with Iskren Marinov and Roxana Caba from EPRA, who have done a great job to organise the Committee events despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
I believe that my professional experience and background puts me in a good position to add value to the PropTech Committee as a facilitator of lively and productive interactions among the members of the Committee that represent a diverse range of companies from our industry. This will allow us to identify and discuss trends in PropTech and innovation that have the potential to transform the real estate industry. PropTech solutions are expected to play a vital role in the post-pandemic business environment, especially as an enabler for energy reduction and for greater focus on health & wellbeing in smart office buildings.
It is also on my agenda to create an environment where we look at and support initiatives that can harmonise practices and standards for real estate data at a European level. Last but not least, I plan for the Committee to meet and discuss promising solutions provided by PropTech companies from across the globe so that interested member companies can follow up with them for implementation projects. While there are thousands of PropTech companies out there, my priority would be for us to focus on solutions that offer proven use cases with a tangible return on investment.
Which activities will take place this year?
First and foremost, we plan for us to meet as much as possible face to face while we continue with the virtual events, which have proven to be so effective during the pandemic. As a start, we plan to organise several virtual sessions for our PropTech Committee members with short-listed PropTech companies on topics such as smart building technology, ESG data collection, tenant engagement and digital strategies.
In Q2, we aim to arrange for a committee meeting in Amsterdam with a visit of an innovation lab and a property tour of smart buildings. We will also meet local PropTech companies and organise a networking committee event so we can get to know each other better and facilitate best practice exchange.
From September 6-8, EPRA will host the annual EPRA conference in Paris. As part of the conference program, we will also arrange for a face-to-face committee meeting and property tours and a meeting of PropTech companies and other PropTech industry experts in an Innovation Hub.
K2A: Tech at the service of climate
K2A is a fast-growing green real estate company, active in all parts of the value chain, from the development of housing concepts to customer-focused management of completed apartments. K2A’s goal is to become Sweden’s first climate-positive real estate company as early as 2027. In 2021, K2A’s portfolio increased from 2,950 apartments under management to more than 3,900 apartments, while the company’s carbon footprint per square meter decreased by 24 per cent.
One of the contributing factors was Hinderbanan in Gävle, the most recent of K2A’s green student housing projects. Hinderbanan was recently nominated as one of the most innovative and sustainable student housing projects in Sweden in 2021. One of the key aspects of the process has been listening to the students and including their priorities in the design of the new property.
Therese Metz, Municipal Commissioner in Gävle Municipality, is one of the people who appreciate the work being done by K2A: “In Gävle Municipality, we plan to be climate neutral by 2035, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. This requires innovative and courageous companies that have the vision to see the opportunities presented by the climate transition. The construction industry accounts for a large share of climate emissions, and operators like K2A are therefore needed to challenge the norm and to think innovatively and sustainably.”
Similar to all of K2A’s newly constructed buildings, Hinderbanan is certified according to the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Hinderbanan is constructed in timber, the only renewable – and one of the market’s most climate efficient – building materials. The building was produced in the company’s own factories in Gävle and Valdemarsvik, thereby minimising the amount of waste and reducing the climate impact.
Compared with a standard construction process using steel and concrete, the climate impact from the process of constructing a building in timber is 80 per cent lower, including the effect of the carbon stored in a timber-framed building.
Solar cell panels on the roof combined with energy storage power the climate-friendly geothermal heating system as well as the ‘BoBil’ electric carpool – a service appreciated among the tenants. The green benefits of Hinderbanan also contribute to the revenues generated by the project. The standardised factory production process has less impact on the areas surrounding the site but is also cost-efficient, less time consuming and comes with less risk than on-site production. The energy-efficient building reduces both environmental impact and electricity bills.
Furthermore, the electric carpool, combined with generous bike facilitates, reduces the need for tenants to own their own cars and for parking spaces, thus enabling more efficient use of the land.