The essential role of sustainable buildings in urban regeneration and   the first low carbon and operationally decarbonized building in Greece

Noval Property participated for the second time at the Delphi Economic Forum VIII, which took place from 26 to April 29 in Delphi.

The forum which attracted the international and domestic business and political community, Noval Property was represented by its CEO, Panagiotis Kapetanakos, who participated in the panel discussion: “Transforming Our Cities. Paving the Way Towards Urban Regeneration & Sustainable Buildings”, along with David Nelson, Senior Executive Partner Head of Design at Foster + Partners in the United Kingdom and Panagiotis Skiadas, Senior Sustainability Director of Viohalco. Marianna Skylakaki, publisher and editor-in-chief of a8inea, coordinated the discussion.

The main subject of the discussion was the importance and the multiple benefits brought about through the transformation of modern cities towards sustainable urban development, through a network of initiatives and actions regarding the buildings undertaken by Noval Property, a subsidiary of Viohalco in the real estate industry, in cooperation with Foster + Partners, along with the challenges that surface in following this objective.

Speaking about the importance of repurposing, that is the reuse of existing building stock, in terms of sustainable development, Mr. Kapetanakos said: “We believe that every building and every project is an opportunity and most importantly a commitment to create and promote sustainable change.” Specifically, referring to the urban regeneration, Piraeus 252 project, he stressed that: “Noval Property’s major development project, Piraeus 252, is a great example of sustainable urban regeneration. We are working towards converting 72,000 sq.m. of the former Viohalco industrial site into an innovative destination that will meet the requirements of the future, showcasing a well-balanced mix of cultural, hospitality, office, commercial and residential uses”.

At the same time, he expressed his certainty that: “This multi-dimensional urban development will make a significant contribution to the broader regeneration and rejuvenation of Piraeus Street and the surrounding areas.” Referring to Noval Property’s collaboration with Foster + Partners, which designed the Masterplan for the entire Piraeus 252 project, he mentioned, among other things, that: “We are delighted to be working alongside Foster + Partners on this project. Their knowledge and specialization in architecture and sustainability, coupled with their deep understanding of the requirements and complexity of regeneration projects, not only add value to our projects but help us in further expanding our knowledge in sustainable design.”

Mr. Kapetanakos made special mention of the first steps that Noval Property has taken towards creating buildings with a lower carbon footprint, stating that: “We recently acquired an existing and not in use office building on Kifisias Avenue in Marousi and we have already commenced its redevelopment and transformation, so that next year we have the first modern, sustainable and operationally decarbonized office building in Greece with expected Leed Gold, Fitwel and carbon related certifications.”

For his part, David Nelson highlighted Foster + Partners’ determined effort over several years to modernize and continue to drive architectural design developments in the building sector towards a more sustainable future, referring to flagship projects that the firm has implemented and continues to implement around the world. He highlighted the difficulty of finding partners who understand the vision of sustainable development and can work towards it, describing the partnership of Foster + Partners with Noval Property as a “golden opportunity for joint development”. Speaking about the great challenge of developing a sustainable development strategy, he said: “We have the choice of either sitting down and waiting to see what happens or pushing ourselves to find a way to design buildings with an increasingly smaller carbon footprint that will take us to the next level. Let’s see how far we could go by pushing us.”


Finally, referring to the creation of low carbon emitting buildings, Mr. Panagiotis Skiadas stressed the importance of considering the entire life cycle of any product and to approach sustainable transformation as a whole. He further clarified that the environmental goals that are initially set are frequently quite optimistic, since we are not yet ready to achieve zero carbon emissions. “All construction materials right now do have a carbon footprint and there are both objective and restrictive factors in regards to decarbonization of each different material,” he said. With that in mind however, he expressed his optimism for the future, noting that the technological capabilities exist, which with smart design, can significantly minimize impact during the operation of a building.

Athens, May 3, 2023

About Noval Property

Noval Property is the second largest Greek REIC. The investment property portfolio of Noval Property, which comprises 62 properties (1 through a participation in a real estate company) mostly in Greece and selectively in Bulgaria, includes office buildings, shopping centres, hospitality assets and warehouses of total built area of approx. 465.000 sq.m.. The fair value of the investment property and participations portfolio amounted to EUR 486.4 million as of 31.12.2022. Noval Property is a subsidiary of Viohalco in the real estate sector.

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About Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, all rooted in sustainability and founded by Norman Foster in 1967. Since then, he and the team around him have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation.