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Delivering the Infrastructure of Change for a Green Future: Hill International Helps Clients Achieve Their Sustainability Goals on Landmark Projects Across Europe

Through the European Green Deal, the European Union (EU) aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions, plant 3 billion trees, and become the first climate-neutral continent, all by 2050. National plans specify these continent-wide ambitions: Germany’s Climate Protection Act calls for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, while Portugal has outlined plans to double its 2030 goals for renewable energy and Italy has approved more than €6 billion to facilitate the green transition of Italian industry.  Likewise, European states outside of the EU such as Switzerland and the United Kingdom have roadmaps in place for working towards net-zero carbon emissions.

“The specifics in each country will look different, but all of us, from civil servants to industry professionals and tradespeople, will need to work together towards a common green future,” says Manolis Sigalas, Senior Vice President & Managing Director for Hill International’s European Operations. “Building construction and usage represent a significant source of Europe’s total carbon emissions—around 40% according to the European Commission. The architecture, engineering, and construction industry’s response to national and EU green initiatives has the potential to drive a very tangible reduction in overall emissions and contribute to a greener future for all.”

The Hill team in Europe has decades of experience providing project and construction management consulting for some of the continent’s defining sustainable building projects. Hill’s green portfolio spans every region of Europe and includes high-profile commercial, industrial, governmental, educational, retail, residential, hospitality, and mixed-use projects accredited by multiple organizations responsible for rating buildings’ energy performance, embodied carbon, and impacts on wellness. In the development of this green portfolio, Hill professionals have honed their expertise helping realize clients’ sustainability goals without sacrificing cost, schedule, safety, or quality performance.

Learn more about how Hill teams throughout Europe help our clients deliver more sustainable projects below.

Coordinating Accreditation Requirements in Germany

In Germany, Hill is providing project management services to Intuitive Surgical—an American corporation that develops, manufactures, and markets robotic products for minimally invasive surgery—for the construction of a new office building, manufacturing facility, and above-grade parking structure on a 40,000 sqm greenfield site in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Intuitive Surgical Facility
Intuitive Surgical Facility

In accordance with their global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, Intuitive envisioned a sustainable Freiburg campus. Hill and the rest of the project team have helped Intuitive deliver multiple green features, including rooftop photovoltaics, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking structure, robust stormwater management infrastructure, and environmentally sensitive landscaping. Intuitive also aimed to achieve certification with the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Europe’s largest network for sustainable building.

As project manager, Hill was responsible for coordinating with all stakeholders to achieve Intuitive’s target certification level. “This was challenging because the stakeholder environment included senior management and workstream leads from Intuitive’s California-based corporate headquarters, European management and finance professionals in Switzerland, local management in Germany, and various local authorities, designers, suppliers and contractors,” says Hill Project Director Ferhat Karacaoglu. “We had to coordinate everything with the external DGNB consultant as well.” But while coordinating in such a complex stakeholder environment was challenging, Ferhat says the project team was up to the task. “We are on target to achieve DGNB Gold Certification per Intuitive’s expectations,” he concludes. “This is a testament to Intuitive’s vision and the efforts of the entire project team.”

Manifold Sustainability in Landmark Greek Development

Sustainability involves more than just environmental protection and resiliency in the face of a changing climate. It also entails societal equity and economic opportunities for all members of our communities, especially the most vulnerable. Recognition of this intersection is an important part of Europe’s Green Deal. The EU’s Social Climate Fund, for example, will dedicate more than €86 billion to support vulnerable citizens and small businesses during Europe’s green transition, helping tackle inequality and energy poverty while bringing the entire EU closer to meeting the Green Deal’s goals.

The most sustainable projects are those that address multiple aspects of sustainability. In Greece, Lamda Development Group is developing their landmark project, The Ellinikon, in accordance with the multi-layered sustainable development goals formulated by the United Nations (UN). Envisioned as a city within a city and Europe’s greatest urban regeneration project, The Ellinikon will span 6.2 million SM and feature residential, hospitality, cultural, educational, healthcare, commercial, and athletic facilities, all anchored by a world-class park.

Ellinikon 1
The Ellinikon

Lamda is taking several steps to follow the UN’s guidelines for sustainable development, including performing life cycle assessments for commercial and high-rise residential buildings, pursuing LEED certification for 100% of the project’s commercial and at least 50% of the project’s residential buildings, applying Smart City Principles throughout design, achieving a net gain in biodiversity, reusing 100% of existing materials for repurpose or construction, decontaminating 100% of the site’s soil for reclamation and reuse, recovering at least 75% of construction waste, creating more than 10,000 new jobs during construction, using 100% reclaimed water to irrigate the new park, and emphasizing resiliency to future-proof the development.

While the whole development will be green, two completed and operational Ellinikon projects have already achieved outstanding recognition for their sustainability. The first is the Experience Park, a 75,000 SM urban park which opened in December 2021. The project received the international SITES Gold Certification, the first such certification for a new construction project in Greece and in all of Europe. As a landscape project with a nature-positive design and remarkable results in terms of increased biodiversity, soil restoration, enhanced vegetation, preserved native habitats, and the facilitation of social connection, health, and well-being, the Experience Park serves as a model for other sustainable developments around the world.

Another Ellinikon facility captures the intersection of environmental and social sustainability in a special way: the €15.6 million, 11,300 SM Building Complex for People with Disabilities (PwD). Four associations for children and adults with disabilities will provide social services in this building.

“The PwD Complex demonstrates Lamda’s commitment to some of Athens’ most vulnerable populations and showcases the sustainability measures being implemented across the entire megaproject,” explains Hill Senior Project Manager Pantelis Frantzis. “In addition to promoting accessibility and providing space for social services, the building achieved LEED Platinum Certification with its sustainable construction program and a variety of green building systems and features.”

The PwD Complex concluded successfully in September 2023—the first building to be delivered as a part of the overall Ellinikon project. Pantelis and the rest of the Hill team provided project management consultancy services, helping overcome a tight schedule, procurement shortages, and narrow lead times to deliver the sustainable facility on time and as envisioned.

Türkiye’s Green Solutions to Other Big Challenges

Like Lamda Development Group’s Building Complex for PwD, Hill clients in Türkiye are addressing other sustainability priorities in their own ways. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world began working to reduce risk in their supply chains. European countries in particular have prioritized data independence as a way to reduce reliance on outsourced cloud and edge technology. This means, among other things, more data centers.

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Turkcell Data Center

Companies like Turkcell Gayrimenkul Hizmetleri Inc. are helping to meet the need for increased in-house data center infrastructure with sustainable projects. Hill’s team in Türkiye helped this mobile communications company achieve LEED Gold Certification on the Turkcell Avrupa Data Center project in Çorlu, which concluded in 2021. One of the largest data centers in the country, this 37,300 SM facility has more than 7,000 SM of white space and features transformers, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units, and generators, as well as 242 seismic isolators and 80 viscous dampers that enable the data center to withstand earthquakes up to 9.0 in magnitude.

The Avrupa Data Center helps Turkcell meet customer needs with uninterrupted cloud, security, and access services and contributes to enhanced data independence. Hill’s project management team helped manage the efficiency of the building—no small feat given the massive amounts of electricity data centers use to hold data and keep infrastructure cool. Hill carefully reviewed all design elements and oversaw construction to make certain that Turkcell’s sustainability goals were achieved. The project’s notable green features include solar panels, a rainwater collection system, recyclable construction materials, thermal insulated panels on the façade, drought-tolerant landscaping, and a water purification and discharge system. The project team also used a building energy model to forecast the building’s life cycle efficiency.

“Europe’s digital transformation is complementary to its broader sustainability goals,” adds Hill Director of Business Development and Operations Murat Kocakulak. “Increased data independence will enable increased economic independence and make Türkiye and Europe more resilient in the face of a changing world.”

The Green Polish Megacluster

Since the early 2000s, Hill’s team in Poland has worked to deliver a constellation of buildings characterized by iconic architecture, many sustainability features, and certification with multiple accreditation systems, including LEED, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM), and the WELL Building Standard—which assesses a variety of features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. The team’s portfolio includes more than a dozen commercial high-rise buildings in Warsaw, such as Karimpol’s Skyliner (BREEAM Excellent), Ghelamco’s Warsaw Unit (BREEAM Outstanding and WELL v2 Platinum), and HOCHTIEF Development Poland’s Rondo 1 (LEED Platinum), among many others.

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Skyliner I and II

While the Hill team served in multiple roles on these projects, our professionals have demonstrated adaptability and consistency in protecting their clients’ interests and achieving construction programs in line with client expectations. Hill’s notable solutions on these projects included advocating for our clients’ net-zero emissions goals, supervising design and construction works with particular attention to the accreditation processes, making recommendations during value engineering to realize environmental efficiency improvements at lower costs or with a reduced schedule, coordinating with project teams and organizations like LEED to manage the accreditation process, prioritizing local materials during procurement, and facilitating material reuse during construction.

“Over the years, our team in Poland has shown an exceptional ability to deliver management excellence on projects in Warsaw’s commercial sector,” says Hill Director of Business Development Europe Robert Karczewski. “We’ve worked with project teams to put together a proven playbook of solutions that can manage risk, boost cost and schedule performance, and meet our clients’ sustainability requirements. In this way, we’ve built a reputation for getting sustainable projects done and certified in line with all client expectations.”

Refurbishing Sustainability Excellence in Spain

Like the Hill team in Poland, Hill’s Spanish organization has years of experience helping clients achieve their visions for sustainable building projects, especially refurbishment projects in Madrid’s commercial sector. The team’s comprehensive support includes shaping, administering, and executing clients’ sustainability goals from concept through completion, as well as helping to achieve target certifications at the targeted levels.

For example, on the FARO project, a total refurbishment of a 14-story, 14,000 SM office building currently under construction in Madrid, the Hill team has helped Ardian Spain define their sustainability goals, led procurement for engineering consultants with the proper qualifications and experience to support those goals, verified that design and construction documents comply with accreditation score matrices, and monitored the certification process through design, pre-construction, and construction. As a result of the Hill team’s efforts, the FARO project is on track to achieve the target LEED Platinum, BREEAM Excellent, WELL Gold, and Smartscore Gold Certification, as well as a net-zero carbon rating.

“Beyond the ratings, FARO represents a visionary endeavor that demonstrates a commitment to innovation and sustainability,” says Hill Country Manager for Spain Maria Pilar Pereira Ruiz. “With FARO, Ardian Spain is aiming to set new standards in environmental responsibility by cr

Faro Office Building
Faro Office Building

eating one of the most sustainable buildings in the entire country. By adhering to stringent criteria in multiple sustainability frameworks, such as LEED, BREEAM, and WELL, our project team is delivering a building with a low ecological footprint and a high-quality environment for occupants.”

Our Green Tomorrow 

“Accreditations such as LEED and BREEAM provide excellent benchmarks for improving the sustainability of our industry,” adds Manolis. “But they’re only part of the picture. We need teams of visionary owners, daring designers, and experienced builders ready to incorporate the very latest in construction technology and methodology. Those teams also need the trust and financial backing of governments and other funding agencies. With the right pieces in place, only then will we be prepared to take ambitious leaps with projects that push the boundaries of our built environment, advance our communities’ economic and social goals, and incorporate the latest in smart city planning and other futuristic technologies into our everyday lives. In this exciting but challenging context, Hill looks forward to serving as advocates for our clients’ most ambitious goals, providing technical and management expertise to overcome obstacles, and helping realize their ambitions for a greener world on schedule and on budget.”

Hill is committed to taking part in Europe’s green transformation. We are proud to help our European clients achieve their project goals, deliver sustainable features, achieve certifications, and develop their projects in line with national and continental expectations and requirements for sustainable development.

To learn more about our projects and people, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com.

To learn more about Hill’s operations throughout Europe, please reach out to Manolis Sigalas at [email protected]