Cheap fuels. Cheap electricity. Cheap heat. This country's reputation for inexpensive utilities is well-deserved. They tamp down the cost of the city's apartments, offices and stores. Taking extra steps to "green" a building by making it conserve energy seems, by contrast, like the expensive option.
Green building has touched down in Russia with high-profile projects that could jump-start the market. But a lack of building regulations, materials and know-how for environmentally friendly construction means not every project is legally possible — or financially feasible.
Whether finding ecological and sustainable materials, getting consumers and businesses to buy them or convincing a contractor to build according to green standards, efforts in green real estate can pose serious challenges. But that doesn't stop salespeople from trying.
In 2008, when Julia Stefanishina of Ernst & Young began working as a green building consultant, she found that developers thought of sustainable development as a Western phenomenon with few prospects in Russia. Today developers are realizing that they'll need to embrace the green trend to remain competitive.