Conrad van Oostrom is the Dutch CEO and founder of OVG, a 10-year old real estate development company specializing in office buildings. According to this Business Week article, it was during a breakfast on climate change with Al Gore in the summer of 2006 that he realized the future is green. So did the host of the breakfast, Peter Bakker, CEO of global express delivery titan TNT. Bakker decided to replace six of the company’s office buildings in the Netherlands – including TNT’s headquarters – with new energy-efficient buildings. TNT awarded the contract to OVG because OVG is harnessing technology to convert its green designs into real buildings more quickly.
Van Oostrom argues that green may be the savior of commercial real estate – a way of making it more recession-proof. “Big buildings in the center of major cities like London can be retrofitted,” he says. “But older buildings outside the center, I don’t see any future for that kind of building.”
He also sees technology playing a key role in the green movement. His company uses computer programs to automate the process of making each part of a building optimally green, generating 30 percent in savings on construction costs and helping OVG build new office buildings faster then competitors, he says.
OVG says it is now in discussions with the economic development boards of the cities of London, Berlin, and Paris about securing land for new, green office buildings. And van Oostrom is confident he will seal some major contracts with big companies in those markets in the months to come.