The World’s 2nd Most Sustainable Office Building is in Krakow

The “V Offices” office building is located in Al. 29 Listopada 20, right in the city centre of Krakow. It was developed by real estate developer AFI EUROPE and designed by Iliard Architecture & Design. This architectural ‘V’-shaped building was awarded the highest BREEAM “Outstanding” Certification in Poland back in 2018. With 90.57% credits under the category of “International New Construction” during the Design Stage.

However, it was earlier in March that WARBUD S.A., the general contracting company in charge of construction, announced that the “V Offices” office building was awarded the prestigious “Outstanding” level of BREEAM certification. With the highest score possible, obtaining overall credits up to 98.87%. These remarkable results award this 2019-inaugurated building the highest score ever given to an office building project in Poland. As well as ranking it second in the world in this category.

The BREEAM Certification Scheme

The BRE Group is the corporation behind BREAM building certifications. This certification scheme was first launch in 1990 and is consolidated as the most prestigious international scheme aiming to provide independent third-party certification for buildings in diverse categories, regarding the assessment of sustainability performance, and is awarded to assets which neighbouring resources and environment are not over-exploited throughout its built life cycle.
The 10 assessment categories that a building must undergo when applying for BREEAM certification include: Energy, Health and Wellbeing, Innovation, Land Use, Materials, Management, Pollution, Transport, Waste and Water Management.

Environmentally friendly building performance from design

Due to its geographical location between mountains and an area of low natural wind resources, the city of Krakow is one of the most polluted European cities. Its low air quality is due to the smog problem that this city suffers. Thus, the project investors AFI EUROPE hired Iliard architecture firm. In order to give a strong focus on the environmental and sustainability aspects of the building. Some of the key technological and architectural features that gained the prestigious certification to this building are:

  • Availability of 14 electric car chargers and space for 180 bicycle racks to encourage sustainable mobility.
  • Water saving fittings and a modern rainwater recovery system. With optimized installations aimed to reduce by up to 55% the building’s water consumption.
  • Optimal insulation and ventilation installation systems for high energy efficiency.
  • Dual independent power suppliers and a dedicated heat source installation based on efficient gas boilers supported by rooftop solar collectors. It is independent from the coal-based heating network to help reduce pollution and further worsen the local air quality.
  • Energy efficient elevators.
  • Use of heat pumps for improved high-efficiency energy recovery from heating and cooling, hence reducing CO2 emissions.
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The environment: a crucial issue

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the building sector is accountable for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of the global energy consumption. Awarding the building sector a key role to play in the de-carbonization of our global industries. Enhancing the transition to a low-carbon future.

Only in Europe, 75% of the building stock – approximately 220 million buildings – are considered inefficient in terms of energy use, particularly for heating and cooling applications, due to their reliance on mostly fossil fuels for this essential task.  A recent study by WEF found that a potential reduction of 9% in CO2 emissions is achievable by a 20% shift toward heat pump applications powered by renewable electricity.

Bearing this in mind, is understandable the urgence for policy-makers, regulators, and concerned citizens throughout the globe, to encourage companies and real estate developers to design and build more efficient, environmentally friendly, and smarter buildings in favor of a greener future.