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Interview with Laurent Lesmarie, General Manager of the real estate company S2FIT1 in SNCF Immobilier

This week, Urban Chronicles™ interviewed Laurent Lesmarie, General Manager of the real estate company S2FIT1 at SNCF Immobilier

Discover how the real estate management of one of the largest French companies is organised and how the group’s teams integrate the challenges of sustainability and climate change for a management aligned with the State’s objectives in this area!

Green Soluce: What role does S2FIT1 play within SNCF and in particular within SNCF immobilier?

Laurent Lesmarie: Within the public rail group, S2FIT1 provides support and management of tertiary and industrial assets (125,000m² on 25 tertiary buildings and 60,000m² spread over 2 industrial sites). By its nature, S2FIT1 is under the guidance of SNCF Immobilier which is the property manager of the SNCF Group. We are in charge of managing and valuing the real estate assets of the group’s, whether they own or rent their assets.

Our scope of action does not concern the infrastructure networks (stations and connections) since they are managed by other entities (SNCF Réseau, Gares & Connexions).

Within SNCF Immobilier, I am personally responsible for the management and optimisation of commercial and social (such as holiday centres or medical centres) properties and I am also in charge of the General Management of the S2FIT1 real estate company.

Green Soluce: What are the major sustainability issues you face in managing your real estate portfolio? Do you have illustrations of these issues in your projects? Is sustainability a criterion for the management of a property (sale, purchase, renovation, etc.)?

Laurent Lesmarie: With regard to its real estate portfolio, S2FIT1 wanted to develop a real CSR policy around three axes: the ecological footprint of its asset base (carbon footprint and consumption), the relationship with its partners (quality of its business relations) and the safety/comfort of its occupants (safety and regulatory compliance of its buildings, quality of space). S2FIT1 as SNCF Immobilier is committed to a sustainable approach that is totally in line with the rail sector objectives: “Giving everyone freedom of movement while preserving the planet”.

We want our buildings to have a low carbon footprint thanks to the rationalisation of buildings and by ensuring that the carbon footprint is low both in their use and in their operation. We also want that they consume little by optimizing flow management with new tools.

To meet the challenge of sustainability at the scale of our fleet, we must ask ourselves a question: is it more appropriate to rebuild a building to current environmental standards or to upgrade an existing building? The park of S2FIT1, especially the tertiary park, is quite old (most of the assets are over 50 years old). For its industrial park, the objective is to build new assets of high environmental quality by seeking the latest standards in the field (certification).

On the tertiary park, it is sometimes difficult to turn to exemplary and durable goods in secondary cities and we need to restructure our assets to reduce their carbon footprint. This is what we did in Clermont-Ferrand. We have upgraded a very old building that was first insulated from the outside to reduce its carbon impact. After realizing that the insulation gave a feeling of suffocation to users during the summer season, we chose to install a reversible AHU to promote air circulation and have a comfortable temperature in the building, without using excessive air conditioning. Indeed, in the notion of sustainability, the use function is very important and promoting the comfort of the inhabitants is essential to us.

Green Soluce: What are the main climatic hazards that threaten your real estate stock today? How do you take them into account in the management of the park?

Laurent Lesmarie: Concerning tertiary real estate assets, our properties are most of the time located in the city center, therefore, mainly exposed to heat waves that we are trying to anticipate with sustainable and low-tech solutions as explained before. For industrial assets that are new constructions and are located more on the outskirts of cities, the sites where they are located have been assessed and cleaned up before construction.

Green Soluce: What are the challenges facing SNCF Immobilier to make its fleet more resilient to climate risk in the future?

Laurent Lesmarie: Today, S2FIT1 has two main issues on sustainability and resilience, which are linked to our two main activities: one concerning management and optimisation, and the other concerning valuation and development.
Sustainability is a dominant and important subject in the development of the public railway group. On our side of property management and optimisation, we have a very old tertiary fleet whose rationalisation in terms of sustainability and environmental footprint must be ensured.

Interview by Pierre Rostan and Lucille Christien for Urban Chronicles™

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Green SoluceInterview with Laurent Lesmarie, General Manager of the real estate company S2FIT1 in SNCF Immobilier
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