Environmental Sustainability

SBB aims to minimize carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful environmental impacts in all stages of the life cycle. This means that SBB will preserve and safeguard existing buildings and strive to make them more energy efficient in order to achieve the same technical standard as in newly built buildings. In new construction, great emphasis is placed on minimizing emissions from the construction process and taking ecosystems and biodiversity into account, among other things by using sustainable building materials such as wood and considering biodiversity in the dialogue and planning process. Environmental risks are always inventoried, mapped and documented during the construction process. Achieving the set goals requires systematic work with established knowledge and technical solutions, but new and groundbreaking technologies are also required. SBB works actively to test innovations in environmental technology.

OVERARCHING OBJECTIVES

  • Reduced energy use and climate impact by five per cent per year
  • At least 50 per cent of new production shall be built in wood from certified forestry
  • The entire property portfolio and all new production must be within ten minutes walking distance from public transport
  • Reduced water use by one per cent per year
  • Mapping of climate-related risks (physical and transitional risks) in the entire property portfolio

 

Progress and initiatives within Climate and Environment 

Zero-net climate emissions and reduced environmental impact

Energy use 100-percent renewable electricity from hydroelectric, wind and solar power through an agreement with Skellefteå Kraft. In 2020, the monitoring and reporting of energy use was expanded to include the entire portfolio. SBB has the goal of reducing energy consumption by 5 percent per year in the entire property portfolio. The goal pertains to kWh per square metre. Properties with a high energy consumption per square metre and in absolute figures are prioritized. SBB’s green bonds finance many initiatives for energy-efficiency enhancement in SBB’s properties, including supplemental insulation, energy-efficient heaters, geothermal heat pumps and energy-efficient lighting. We have negotiated a favourable electricity trading agreement with 100 percent renewable electricity, which we will offer to all of our residential tenants. During the fourth quarter, SBB procured solar cell installations for eight properties in Skara and Tidaholm. The solar cells will produce a total of approximately 227,000 KWh of electricity annually. The solar cells will be installed in properties that were additionally insulated and equipped with FX ventilation and heat pumps in 2019. With the addition of the solar cells, energy consumption will be further reduced and SBB will obtain a complete systems solution in which the solar cells offset the heat pumps’ electricity consumption.
Carbon dioxide emissions SBB has the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent annually. In 2020, the monitoring and reporting of carbon dioxide emissions was expanded to include the entire portfolio. Numerous initiatives have been implemented to reduce emissions. SBB views its properties’ climate impact from a life cycle perspective and is preparing to be able to conduct life cycle analyses in all new production.
Sustainable property management SBB is investing in further development of existing properties instead of demolishing and building new. All properties that have been held for more than three years must be environmentally inventoried. The environmental inventories are to be done continuously, at least every ten years. Adequate spaces for waste management and source sorting must be available in or next to the properties. The operating and maintenance agreements signed are adapted to live up to the requirements set according to certification systems, such as Miljöbyggnad (environmental building), also for the properties that are not certified.
Certified buildings [Cert-Tot] Five new properties were certified in 2020. A list of all certified properties is publicly available on the website. A total of 33,300 square metres, 8.5 percent, of the property portfolio is certified according to the standard defined in SBB’s sustainable financial framework.
Number of green leases Several new green leases were signed in 2020; the green leases follow the property owners’ templates for green contracts. A formal system for monitoring the number of green leases is being developed.
Environmental and climate risks An analysis of environmental and climate-related risks in the entire portfolio has been done and updates are made every year and upon the acquisition of properties. Among others, physical, regulatory and transitional risks linked to climate change are addressed. Risks to the business are primarily managed by SBB’s management team with support from the Board of Directors; SBB’s CEO is responsible for leading this work. All of SBB’s properties are fully insured.
Environmental inventory and decontamination Healthy indoor environments are of the utmost importance to SBB. All newly obtained properties are environmentally inventoried and these inventories are updated every ten years as a minimum. Among other aspects, the occurrence of asbestos, radon and PCB, as well as energy consumption are inventoried; decontaminations of substances hazardous to health and the environment (including asbestos) were done in 86 percent of the 695 apartment renovations carried out in 2020.
Biodiversity SBB focuses on further development of already developed areas and at the same time increases biodiversity in these areas in dialogue with the local communities. All new development includes a dialogue process where the local community’s perspectives are obtained and integrated into the development. Where there are uncertainties regarding the effects on biodiversity, environmental impact assessments are conducted. All of SBB’s wood building projects use wood from certified forestry, which ensures a high species richness and biodiversity.
Water usage [Water-Abs] [Water-Int] Water usage is measured and monitored annually. In 2020, water usage was measured at 776,000 cubic metres or approx. 0.2 m3/m2. Low-flush toilets, showers and mixer taps are installed in connection with renovations. SBB has the goal of reducing water usage by 1 percent annually. Follow-up is integrated in the energy follow-up system. All wastewater is collected and treated in municipality wastewater systems and water treatment plants. All SBB’s operations are located in countries with low water stress on average, according to WRI. Small parts of SBB’s operations are located in areas with up to low-medium water stress according to WRI (Gotland, Skåne, Sörmland, Östergötland and Denmark).
Sustainable building materials [102-9] 52 percent of SBB’s on-going projects, measured as the share of gross floor area, have wood frames. All with certified wood according to FSC or PEFC. The goal is 50 percent. SBB is pioneering in the area and is building one of the world’s tallest wood buildings in Skellefteå. SBB evaluates and registers building materials with regard to environmental and climate risks to achieve a sustainable supply chain. As part of the work, SBB went in as a member of the Byggvarubedömningen (building materials assessment), a non-profit economic association consisting of actors in the society building sector that aims to promote the development towards a non-toxic and good developed environment.
Zero deforestation SBB uses only sustainably sourced wood products and will not allow deforestation because of its own or suppliers operations. Wood used in buildings are sustainably sourced and certified with FSC or PEFC.
Waste SBB strives to minimize waste, both in property management and in the construction process. In property management, SBB collaborates with tenants and makes areas available for source sorting. In the construction process, SBB sets requirements on waste minimization and sorting through the company’s sustainability appendix. SBB also conducts environmental rounds where compliance is followed up and documented by a third party. All materials left over after our apartment renovations are taken back and used in the next renovation; this also applies to small items, such as opened paint cans.
Proximity to public transprort SBB wants to create possibilities for a sustainable lifestyle and therefore invests in properties close to public transport; the share of properties close to public transport is continuously followed up. > 98 percent of SBB’s properties are less than a ten-minute walk away from public transport.
EU-Taxonomy The EU taxonomy is a standard for categorizing sustainable activities. SBB has completed an initial assessment of its taxonomy alignment and found that the alignment is approximately 13 per cent within ‘Acquisition and ownership of buildings’ and 50 per cent in ‘Construction of new buildings’.
Innovations in environmental
technology
Several initiatives have been carried out and planned during the year, including energy recovery from waste water, a pilot project with a new kind of solar cell with an integrated battery pack and the development of AI tools for energy follow-up. SBB has a resident app for all residential tenants where they can easily receive their rent notices and order additional services, such as agreements for renewable electricity trading and home insurance for which SBB has negotiated favourable terms.