[IMGCAP(1)]The recent announcement that Colliers International Southeast Europe has formed a Regional Initiative for Sustainability and the Environment (RISE) is just the latest evidence that Europe increasingly is going green in terms of property development. To do so, however, involves a number of challenges in terms of education and even in the creation of a Continental standard akin to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the United States. Among other educational challenges, “We’re debunking the myth that sustainability is expensive,” says Erin Inglish, Regional Sustainability Advisor for Colliers International Southeast Europe, Zagreb, Croatia.

The RISE program will offer Colliers’ clients in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR of Macedonia, and Cyprus consulting services on educating employees on sustainability, training employees interested in becoming green building consultants. In addition, the company is promoting best practices by developing outreach materials for clients and including features on environmental sustainability in feasibility studies and market reports. Inglish currently is teaching a 14-week online course on the issue of sustainability. “The idea is not to transpose LEED to Southeast Europe, but to create enough ideas for countries to consider,” including simple items such as the use of permeable pavement, Inglish said.

[IMGCAP(2)]For developers this is a country-by-country effort, though the International Council of Shopping Centers has formed a Sustainability Working Group to adapt the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), used in the United Kingdom, to create a Pan-European sustainability standard by 2009. But doing so across 25 European Union members and candidate countries at varying points of sophistication, and with differing national standards, presents some difficulties.

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