Rated as “Outstanding”, Katowice’s office building has been awarded with a prestigious Breeam International certificate that is presented to energy-efficient buildings, where comfort of work is of paramount importance.
The Kondrad Bloch Office Building that is part of GPP Business Park has been awarded the highest number of points in Poland in the certification process. “The idea of creating a place that is unique in terms of its energy use and environmental impact has been cherished by us since the very beginning of developing the complex,” says Mirosław Czarnik, President of GPP Business Park S.A. “Construction of sustainable buildings involves not only an issue of applying latest technologies, it primarily means higher comfort of work and lower operating expenses for their users,” he adds.
A Breeam certificate is a multi-criteria tool that verifies the level of a building’s impact on the surroundings and latest technologies and sustainable solutions that have been used in it. Presently, it is one of the methods that are most frequently used in Europe to assess buildings in terms of their eco-solutions. It was developed in 1990 by Britain’s organisation BRE (Building Research Establishment). Building assessment criteria consider a broad range of aspects: land development, energy consumption, materials used, protection against pollution emissions, waste management and water supply and sewage disposal management, innovation and building management, and also health and comfort of user, or transport. “Outstanding” is the highest rating available in the Breeam system and is hard to receive because of a necessity to implement above-standard requirements across almost all categories. Awarding such a high rating requires satisfaction of over 85% of the certification requirements that ensure caring about health and well-being of the development’s users and the natural environment.
“Having a Breeam certificate with the highest rating undoubtedly increases the facility’s value. Many enterprises and corporations pursue a pro-ecological policy in their operations and willingly choose a facility for their offices the nature of which will be compliant with their approach to the environmental protection. Often, it’s even a requirement for a company’s offices to have such a certificate since having it means a greater comfort of work in that building,” says Mirosław Czarnik, President of GPP Business Park S.A.
Commissioned for use in 2019, the Konrad Bloch building is the only plus-energy office building in Poland in the area of ventilation, heating, and domestic hot water production. This means that it produces more energy than it requires. A system of tri-generation and heat pumps and photovoltaic panels has been used in it to increase energy production capabilities by using renewable energy sources. The in-house BMS (Building Management System) controls blinds, lights, and ventilation of the office space in a single network. This allows increasing energy efficiency and closer adjustment of the system of the needs of tenants. By applying such technologies and using improved materials with a lower heat transfer coefficient (at the construction stage), it has been possible to lower the costs of utility consumption by over 50%.
There are active cooling and heating beams used in office space offering individual temperature adjustment. Fresh air is produced by a central exchange unit offering heat and humidity recovery, which translates into lower energy consumption. Furthermore, the central exchange unit maintains air humidity in the range of 40-60% which is the most beneficial for humans. In the process of air moisturisation silver ions are used to eliminate microbes, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The ventilation and air-condition system design for the Konrad Bloch building won the main PASCAL 2020 Prize awarded by the Polish Ventilation Association. “Research shows that such excellent air quality directly contributes to the quality of well-being of uses, thus improving their work efficiency by 20-40%. It has also been confirmed that properly purified and moisturised air lowers the morbidity rate and ailments affecting the upper respiratory tract by as much as 20-30%,” says Mirosław Czarnik. “The air quality in office areas was extremely important for us since the very beginning. During the pandemic those ratios have additionally gained in importance, as they have a direct impact on health and safety of employees”- he adds.
Latest energy efficient technologies, a high comfort of users’ work, lowered operating expenses – could anything else have been done for the building to be greener? Yes. Houses for birds and bats and a hotel for insects have been installed in the complex. The roofs of the office buildings have been covered with plants (stonecrops), and on the roof of the Konrad Bloch building an apiary has been set up.
“The Breeam certificate that comes with the Outstanding rating is an enormous award for us. This makes us convinced that back in 2005 we took a good decision on transforming areas destroyed by industry into a modern zone of business activities and innovation focused on technological development that is in line with a pro-environmental attitude. This setting of trends for energy efficient construction gives you satisfaction, and also a sense of responsibility. I’m thanking all of those, who have worked hard for few years for that success,” says Mirosław Czarnik.