EU Taxonomy: vdpResearch and Drees & Sommer present top 15% criteria for international real estate

What criteria need to be fulfilled to make real estate compliant with the EU Taxonomy and become part of the top 15% of the existing building stock? In order to help internationally active banks fulfill these top 15% criteria and therefore be compliant with the EU Taxonomy, a new benchmarking has been created by the construction and real estate consulting company Drees & Sommer SE on behalf of vdpResearch. In addition to criteria for selected European countries, indicators were also developed for properties in the USA and Canada.The results of the top 15% benchmarking offer a variety of evidence on a wide range of criteriafrom energy demand and consumption to primary energy and CO2 emissions including site and source energy intensities.

“Many banks active in Europe and North America still find it difficult to check the taxonomy eligibility of their financed real estate and to determine whether they are part of the top 15% of the existing building stock. So, benchmarking was urgently needed. The top 15% criteria for France, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK, the USA, and Canada is a valuable tool to help banks that finance property internationally analyze their property loan portfolios comprehensibly and transparently for these countries too,” explains Reiner Lux, Managing Director of vdpResearch. Since April 2022, the Association of German Pfandbrief Banks (vdp), a shareholder of vdpResearch, and Drees & Sommer have been supporting financial market participants and the real estate industry in Germany with the benchmarking to demonstrate taxonomy eligibility.

As a continuation of this work, Drees & Sommer was commissioned by vdpResearch to develop top 15% criteria and a standardized methodology for implementing them in the countries mentioned. The

benchmarks were determined for the residential, office, retail, logistics, and hotel asset classes. In addition to basic recommendations that apply across all countries, the study contains detailed criteria for the respective country and asset class as well as a detailed methodology report for deriving the benchmarks.

“Fulfilling the top 15% criterion is an essential component of ESG and sustainability reporting. These concrete recommendations and comprehensible criteria mean we can provide banks with the necessary guidance for the EU Taxonomy and create transparency in the international market,” says Claudio Tschätsch, Head of ESG and Sustainable Finance at Drees & Sommer. The company is one of the market leaders in ESG consulting and sustainable finance and supports clients with strategy and portfolio analyses through to implementation in real estate.

The so-called top 15% criterion is based on the EU Taxonomy Regulation. According to this, a building constructed by the end of 2020 is classified as taxonomy-aligned if one of the following two conditions is fulfilled: either an energy performance certificate with energy efficiency class A is available, or it can be proven that a building is among the top 15% in terms of the national or regional market and its primary energy demand.

The study was compiled exclusively for vdpResearch and the vdp member institutions and serves as proof of EU Taxonomy alignment for the acquisition and ownership of property in Europe, the USA, and Canada. It is based on representative, publicly accessible sources of information and is updated annually. A summary of the results can be downloaded here. The entire study with detailed benchmarks for the respective country and asset class as well as a comprehensive methodology report for deriving the benchmarks can be ordered for a fee via the following e-mail address: esg(at)

About vdpResearch

vdpResearch is the real estate market research company of the Association of German Pfandbrief Banks (vdp). From a credit industry perspective, it deals intensively with the recording, analysis, and forecasting of real estate prices and supports the financial industry in terms of sustainability.