While most of Europe has an advanced, holistic green identity, with countries like Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands showing strong holistically sustainable foundations, Czech Green Building Council (CZGBC) director of communications and project development Jaroslav Pašmik says Prague is “almost the worst of all the European capitals when it comes to environmental regulations.”
According to the CZGBC, the industry at present still does not have a strong green identity; it has been stilted due to government and industry indifference and public unawareness.
As it stands, there are only four buildings in the country that are LEED certified, with several in the capital BREEAM certified. The green sector is at present however, limited to the commercial realm.
According to Pašmik, the government’s nonchalant attitude toward green building is strongly hampering any chance for sector growth.
“The real weakness is the lax attitude of the central and regional governments,” he said. “They should require complex environmental certification for publicly funded construction projects, as is now common at the federal level in Germany or in the United States, for example.”
However, according to Made Sustainable architect and owner Cory Benson, the opportunities being missed in terms of the real estate market could be enough to give the industry and public at large incentive to develop a green identity, even if it is based solely on efficiencies and the economic positives this creates.
“Marketing as a driver shouldn’t be seen as such a bad thing,” says Benson. “It’s too risky to develop a low-quality building that will be obsolete in a few years. In real estate development, you’ll never have ideals trump euros. It is after all a business. And if the marketing aspect produces more sustainable buildings, than all the better.”
According to Benson, the sector’s economic potential may provide the breakthrough needed to bring the nation on board and up to standard with the rest of Europe.
“Czechs are willing to adopt solutions that are more efficient and cost-effective,” Benson says.
The green identity of a nation, much like personal identity, says a lot about its values and culture. In understanding the motivations behind this sector, it is possible to gain greater insight into an industry – the way it works, or why it doesn’t. Green motivators, whether they come from a moral standpoint or otherwise are incredibly important in ensuring the sustainability of the built landscape and should be encouraged in whatever form they come in.