Catella fund integrates embodied carbon rules in latest green deal

The Catella Elithis Energy Positive Fund (CEEPF) has acquired a 76-apartment tower project in Le Havre, northern France for €19 mln.

CEEPF, a real estate investment vehicle focusing on residential developments which produce more energy from renewable sources in operation than they consume, is managed by Berlin-based Catella Residential Investment Management (CRIM).

The Le Havre residential tower is being developed by French sustainable engineering company Elithis Groupe at standard construction costs and is due to be completed in mid-2025.

It will be the first development delivered by the Fund under France’s stricter RE2020 environmental building regulation introduced in the market in January 2022.

The new building code extends previous regulation to include dynamic life cycle criteria for embodied carbon permitted in new construction projects and establishes limits for energy consumption in operation, or when tenants move in.

Xavier Jongen, managing director, CRIM, said: 'The energy positive Elithis towers were already the European ESG residential gold standard for delivering carbon neutrality in operation thirty years ahead of the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ target of 2050.

'With the Le Havre project, Catella and Elithis are now also moving into addressing and minimising greenhouse gas emissions across the entire life cycle of our developments.

'And we are already well ahead of the rest of the market in linking sustainability to affordability by using the very low or elimination of energy bills to boost the household consumption of our tenants. All of this has been achieved at standard construction costs.'

According to the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, the real estate sector in France represents 44% of national energy consumption, ahead of transport representing 31.3%.

Each year, real estate in France emits the equivalent of 123 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, marking it as a key industry in the energy transition and the fight against climate change.

The Elithis Le Havre tower project includes on-site renewable energy production from photovoltaic panels on the roof and façades, which will allow for either very low, or the complete eradication, of tenants' energy bills, boosting household purchasing power and delivering effective rents on average between 5.0% to 10% lower than equivalent residential buildings in the neighbourhood.

CEEPF invests as a ‘dark green’ Article 9 impact fund, the highest level under the EU’s Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and to-date has invested in two developments in the French cities of Mulhouse and Le Havre with further agreements made with local authorities in Brest, Nancy and Bordeaux, and 25 additional sites have been identified across France.

In February, the Fund attracted close to €100 mln in new capital commitments from several European institutional investors.

The development is located in Le Havre’s ‘Eure’ district in the Dumont Durville urban development zone (ZAC - zone d’aménagement concerté), adjacent to the city's docks and will make a significant contribution to the new neighbourhood’s sustainability profile.

The former industrial port area is being revitalized as an urban quarter, with planned residential developments benefiting from the presence of Le Havre university as well as a shopping and exhibition centre. The site is 20 minutes walking distance and 10 minutes by public transport from the main train station.

The residential development encompasses two towers (the main tower with 15 floors and a second with 4 upper floors) and will comprise a diverse mix of homes including two-, three-bedroom and four-bedroom units.

The office areas will be located on the ground floor of the main tower. The residences will benefit from a shared common area for the tenants on the 15th floor, a 350 m2 rooftop common area between the two towers, a bike garage (80 bikes), 48 car parking spaces on site31 in a neighbour property.

The electricity will be sold to the national grid and net revenue (after management costs) redistributed to tenants through lower service costs. A collective self-consumption energy grid allowing users to share electricity locally is also under review.



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