EUROPE - Two-thirds of real estate investors interviewed in Germany, France and the UK intend to invest significantly more in 'green' buildings in the future, but less than a quarter believe clear evaluation criteria exist for measuring sustainable performance.

The survey by Union Investment also found that more than half of investors (56%) see sustainability as important to their competitiveness, while 55% said they intended to refurbish their existing holdings - with sustainability a key consideration - over the next 12 months.

While investors in Germany, France and the UK broadly agree on which key performance indicators (KPIs) are needed to evaluate ecological sustainability, only 24% believe there is a clear evaluation criteria for measuring the sustainable quality of buildings in their respective countries.

Key aspects for retrofitting existing buildings are primary energy and water consumption, lifecycle costs and carbon footprint, according to the report, which surveyed 174 European property investors.

Systematic collection of these metrics varies widely among investors, with 59% of respondents recording their buildings' primary energy consumption, 50% the water footprint and 43% the volume of waste produced.

By contrast, carbon emissions rating and lifecycle costs are less important to investors, both being collected by just 32%.

German investors lead the way when it comes to systematically recording all green KPIs, although UK investors are clear frontrunners with regard to carbon footprint information.

Another finding of the study is that 72% of the real estate companies surveyed present metrics at building level, 40% by usage category and only 27% based on the overall portfolio.

Reinhard Kutscher, chairman of the management board of Union Investment Real Estate, said: "Although many investors clearly have the relevant values available for each property - especially German portfolio managers - benchmarking is still treated with great caution.

"More transparency is needed. Over the next couple of years, we will increasingly see investors comparing data and publishing it in the form of benchmarks."

Tenants can also make a significant contribution toward creating greater transparency, with the study revealing their consumption figures were included in the data of just 45% of surveyed investors.