ProCredit Bank Bulgaria EAD became the first company in Europe to achieve EDGE Zero Carbon certification. The bank focused on improving the resource efficiency profile of its headquarter building in Sofia, before investing in on-site renewables and offsetting the remaining carbon. ProCredit Group is committed to achieving carbon neutrality for its operations and supporting SMEs in their sustainability journey.
|Project Name||ProCredit Bank EAD Bulgaria|
|Buildings Certified||1 building|
|Total Floor Area Certified||4,871.93m²|
|Certification Date||May 2020|
ProCredit Bank Bulgaria is part of ProCredit Group Holding, an international group of development-oriented commercial banks mainly active in South Eastern and Eastern Europe. Working primarily in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, ProCredit enables its clients to invest in resource-efficient and environmentally sound practices.
ProCredit Group has two goals: to increase its green financing to reach 20% of the total lending portfolio, and to reach carbon neutrality for its own operations by 2023. This commitment includes a variety of activities, from the procurement of renewable energy to improving the efficiency of its own buildings as certified through EDGE.
ProCredit Bulgaria Bank EAD began its EDGE journey in 2018. The work on the building, however, stems from the construction of the building back in 2009. The building orientation, type of the facades and the window to wall ratio were carefully chosen in order to allow the maximum benefit from the natural lighting. Additionally, ProCredit installed energy efficiency glass, which reduces the amount of heating energy needed during the winter, as well as the energy needed to cool the building during the summer. The installed air-handling units with heat recovery system is another step in maximizing the utilization of the exhaust air heating potential. In 2018, the building was EDGE-certified, validating that the building was at least 20 percent more efficient compared to office buildings in Bulgaria.
In 2019, ProCredit decided to go for EDGE Zero Carbon accreditation. This meant improving the energy efficiency of the building by 40 percent compared to a local baseline, and then using onsite/offsite renewable energy to reach net zero carbon.
Despite the very tight space on the rooftop, the bank installed a 10 kW PV installation. The solar array only covered a small amount of the company’s electricity consumption, so ProCredit decided that the rest of the electricity would be supplied exclusively by renewable sources, with proven guarantees of origin. The rest of the heating consumption was offset by local Gold Standard Waste Water Treatment project to account for all the building’s energy consumption as zero.
Sustainability is very important to ProCredit. We have many environmental management initiatives, like proper waste management, paper use reduction, installing LED lighting and the digitalization of the internal processes. We are also gradually shifting from fossil-fuel cars to electric cars and plug-in hybrids. In the last five years, we have transitioned to have a 60% share of eco cars used in the Bank. These efforts led us to certify our process with ISO 14 001.
Green buildings are an important part of the group’s sustainability strategy. EDGE has unlocked opportunities for the bank to invest in green real estate.
To date, the banking group has EDGE-certified head offices in North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Georgia and is in the process of seeking certification for its head offices in Kosovo, Ecuador, Serbia and Ukraine. This effort speaks to the commitment of the environmental management of the group’s own buildings, but also acts as proof of concept. In discussions with developers and clients regarding energy efficiency projects, the group can point to their own experiences and prove the business case for going green in practice.
“Achieving the EDGE Zero Carbon certification was an important milestone for us, as it validates our commitment to become a carbon neutral organization and serves as an example to our clients that reaching net zero is possible. We have worked closely with SGS and Sintali to achieve this certification, and their support has been invaluable. The team provided us with technical support and ensured the certification and auditing process was smooth and efficient, making it easier for us to focus on meeting our sustainability goals.”
Konstantin Kirov, Head of Environmental Department
The transition to net zero carbon remains a top priority for Europe and the world as a whole. Only with this strong focus will it be possible to meet the climate goals set in the Paris Agreement. ProCredit has laid the foundation with the certification of its own building and hopes to transition more buildings to zero carbon across its building portfolio.
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