Passive apartments in Germany (Wikimedia)
With governments around the world looking to make their states a little greener, passive apartment developments have had a lot of attention, some of it good, some of it bad. These projects are launched in order to bring owner-occupiers high-quality and affordable apartments. This green style of building hasn’t been received as such though! Here are some common misconceptions you may hear about passive apartment projects.
One of the major things which prospective tenants take shots at is the fact that many passive complexes have few car spaces, air con and other helpful features. Many Australians were in uproar in late June over this, saying that it was purely to save the developers money. This may be true in some cases. However, in a lot of modern complexes, there isn’t a developer in the first place! One of the things that makes the passive apartments so unique is that the developer is often taken out of the equation. Dozens of passive building projects are being funded by teams of ethical investors. Naturally, they uphold that after the cost of urban planning, construction and so forth, all the remaining money has been used to improve the quality of the apartments themselves.
Another big myth, which is more attributed to investors than the people who want to live in the apartments, is that these complexes won’t make any money. The big argument here is that when you take away certain facilities in normal apartments, there’ll be little or no demand for the properties. Obviously, investors know that the lack of car spaces is going to have a kind of detrimental effect. This is probably why so many passive apartments are sold in advance, without any estate agents involved at all! This is evidence of a global shift towards green thinking and living. If you look into most passive apartment blocks that are still in construction, you’ll usually find a long waiting list. With green sentiments still growing in all areas of business and society, it’s pretty rare that demand will be so low for investors to make a loss!
The other big “fault” which some people pick at is the frequent lack of air conditioning. When you hear “no air con” I’m sure the first thing you imagine is living in a hot box, so warm and stuffy that it’s close to unbearable. This is a particularly big blemish in countries where the weather’s exceptionally hot! However, the fact that some passive apartments don’t have air con doesn’t mean that they’re all uncomfortable to live in. This is one of the distinguishing features of passive apartment design. It isn’t a simple matter of forgetting about air conditioning and hoping that tenants don’t get heat-stroke. Passive apartments are often designed specifically to keep the interior nice and moderate, with no need for equipment that ups its carbon footprint. With the reduced cost this leads to, we’re expected to see passive design become more and more prevalent in new real estate projects.
I hope this post has given you a clearer picture of the passive apartment complexes. Every real estate development has its downsides. Still, don’t let the misconceptions about these buildings scare you off a great investment!