What does modern mean? Konrad Bloch memorial building in Katowice

The Konrad Bloch memorial building is located in the north part of Katowice. It is the latest, indeed the fourth, module of the GPP Business Park S.A. complex of buildings. It contains seven repeatable levels founded over an underground car park which is linked in series with the other buildings’ car parks, as well as the roof space with separate service rooms and photovoltaic installation.

The building uses the latest available technologies and engineering solutions in advance of current standards, creating a friendly working environment for users. The most important objectives that were posed to the designers and the building contractor, were the following:

►           highest indoor comfort for users,

►           effective use of low emission and renewable energy sources,

►           low operating cost, easy arrangement and re-arrangement of the rented areas,

►           ensuring high thermal and acoustic comfort,

►           reducing the negative impact on the environment to minimum,

►           achieving an “energy plus” balance in the areas of ventilation, heating and hot water installations.

The complex contains a restaurant, fitness club, kindergarten, virtual office, conference centre, 24/7 reception desk, cloakrooms and showers for bikers, ATM with cash deposit function, NextBike city bike station, electric bicycles, electric cars, electric car charging station, car-sharing station and outdoor smoking areas. Soon they will be joined by a self-service parcel station and – by the end of this year – another restaurant and Żabka shop.


The Konrad Bloch Memorial Building is a “plus energy” building in the areas of ventilation, heating and hot water systems, which means that the building produces more heat in combination with electricity from low emission energy sources, than its annual heating demand is. The installed equipment features very high energy efficiency.


Energy consumption during the operational phase is minimised by the use of the trigeneration system consisting of two VITOBLOC co-generation modules from Viessmann, which use the combined process to produce electrical energy from natural gas, simultaneously producing cooling energy from the waste heat. The cooling energy is produced in an absorption refrigerating unit, with a gas heat pump used as a booster source.


According to the regulations, the building and its heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, hot water installations and, in the case of public buildings, the built-in lighting as well, should be designed and installed to ensure that they meet the minimum levels of the annual non-renewable primary energy demand factor. The annual primary energy demand factor for the Bloch Building is: EP=55.43 kWh/(m2year), whereas the requirement specified by the regulations for a new building is currently EP=184.10 kWh/(m2• year), and from 31 December 2020 the required EP value will be EP=120 kWh/(m2•year).

The partial value of the non-renewable building demand factor for the needs of heating, ventilation and hot water preparation, is 6.5 kWh(m2•year). The current regulations contain an obligation to meet the factor of 60 kWh/(m2•year), and from 31 December 2020 it will be at a level of 45 kWh/(m2•year).


The office building roof has been made as a green slab roof, covered with plants (mainly sedum plants), where the apiary is located. This enriches the biological diversity of the area, improving the ecological value of the site and increasing rainwater retention.


Additionally, electrical energy is produced by photovoltaic panels installed on the building’s roof. They provide a supply of renewable solar electricity to auxiliary equipment (pump and fan drives).


Three elevators from KONE are installed in the building, one of which permits the transport of physically disabled people who use wheelchairs. The regenerative drive technology is used to transform the braking energy into electrical energy by turning the lift into a power generator. When an empty cab moves up or a loaded cab moves down, the elevator counterweight or the cab becomes the drive, and the KONE EcoDisc® the generator. The regenerative drive recovers energy produced by the elevator and transforms it into electricity that can be used, e.g. for building lighting.

As a result, the total electrical power consumed by the building is reduced (up to 30% of the energy used by the elevator is recovered). An electricity meter is installed to verify the correctness of the elevator system operation and to monitor the amount of recovered energy on an ongoing basis.


The building’s A/C system was designed using the Swegon Office Solution systems. The air handling unit, where fresh air is prepared, is equipped with a sorptive heat and moisture recovery exchanger. Higher moisture recovery allows a reduction in the required humidification demand during the winter, as well as increased chill recovery and boosted dehydration during the summer. The energy consumption monitoring function allows the energy consumed by fan motors, rotary heat exchanger motor, the total energy consumption and the amount of energy recovered by the heat exchanger to be monitored. The active cooling/heating beams installed in rooms allow individual adjustment of temperature; they are also equipped with stepless adjustment of output allowing the operation to be adjusted precisely to the current needs, which also contributes to additional savings. The active cooling/heating beams use high parameter cooling which provides the following advantages: reduction of transmission loss, reduction of chill demand in office areas with evident benefits, higher utilisation of the natural chill during transition periods thanks to the free cooling and improvement of efficiency of the chill sources, e.g. the gas heat pump.


The active cooling/heating beams installed in rooms provide the possibility of individual temperature control and ensure high thermal and acoustic comfort. The beams provide up to 35 m3/h/person of air, with a flow speed in people’s presence areas of up to 0.2 m/s (thus eliminating the sense of draught). The hygienic air humidification technology which uses hybrid water humidification – consisting of low pressure water sprinkling nozzles and a ceramic non-absorbent bed – reduces consumption of electricity required to power the pump, and dramatically reduces the amount of waste water.

Additionally, silver ion water enrichment technology is used to eliminate microorganisms in the humidification section, thus the entire system is fully safe for people, preventing the spread of the Legionella bacteria. The delivered air is maintained within an ideal-for-humans humidity range of 40-60%, while heat and chill are delivered only to the parts of the building that are being used, which improves the building’s energy efficiency. The innovative and unique solutions are the guarantee of wellness, 20-40% productivity improvement and generally better health condition of the people working in the building.


The software platform on which the unit’s automation and control drivers operate, ensures full integration with the building, as well as remote monitoring which can be carried out not only through the Building Management System (BMS); the WEB server function allows remote access to the device. A series of proprietary customised algorithms were developed for the BMS system by the MBC company to maximise the efficiency of the sources. Hundreds of controllers, various sensors and physical value transducers ensure comfort in rooms, while forming the base for further optimisation of the building’s energy efficiency. Also the installed electricity, heat, chill, water and gas meters allow remote, on-line readout of indications. The number of variables in the system exceeds 4000. The direction towards maintaining maximum user comfort by keeping the lowest possible energy consumption and project budget rationalization are assured by the adopted solutions applied in the ventilation and A/C systems control.


The building is equipped with LED light fittings providing very high light output and an energy-efficient natural and artificial lighting control system. A weather station installed on the building’s roof monitors the natural light intensity and direction of sunlight. Rooms are fitted with light and presence sensors. Lighting in every zone can be controlled remotely using setters. Thanks to the application of the above-described solutions, the building’s lighting energy consumption is reduced by ca. 60%.

Office rooms in the building are arranged to guarantee natural lighting and views through the windows for users who need to stay there for more than 30 minutes. These solutions are beneficial for maintaining high concentration, work effectiveness and well-being of users. The areas around the core of the building are designed as communication routes, sanitary and welfare facilities.


Thanks to solutions which allow the use of low-emission and renewable energy sources, CO2 emissions – compared to traditional solutions – are reduced by ca. 236 tons per year. Also, emissions of nitrates and nitrites (NOx) are at much lower levels. This is achieved through internal energy production at the place of installation – in the trigeneration system, as well as the use of photovoltaic panels and free cooling.


The design of the ventilation and A/C systems in the Konrad Bloch Memorial Building won the main PASCAL 2020 prize for the MBC company, awarded by the Polish Ventilation Association Chapter.


The building is at the final stage of the BREEM 2016 certification process and aspires to the highest possible assessment level – OUTSTANDING.