Recently, we have been witnessing an increase in the awareness of our impact on the environment. We strive to make our behaviour less negative and undertake activities with respect for our surroundings. This trend can be observed in every aspect of our lives as well as in the construction sector and its approach to design and space.

The change can be clearly observed in the design and construction of office buildings. Aspects that used to be considered a fad, today are becoming a necessity, which is supported by the development of global standards for building assessment such as LEED or BREEAM certification systems.

Construction industry faced the challenges of developing new models of office space by improving the comfort and efficiency of work, while respecting the principles of environmental protection.

It may seem that certificates are reserved only for new buildings. Generally, those built years ago did not provide energy-saving nor innovative solutions. However, old installations can be rejuvenated with new, and spaces can be modernized. The choice of such a facility is supported by many arguments that form the basis of sustainable construction assumptions.

Gleeds Polska, aware of the opportunities, followed the trends in office design and the considerations of employees, created an environmentally friendly space in the Blue Tower in Warsaw built in 90’s. The space has been modified to the requirements of sustainability, that resulted in achieving a positive evaluation and an award of the LEED CI Gold Certificate.

The main advantage of such modernization is the reduction of the negative impact. During works, existing materials and structural elements may be reused, or supplemented with new ones with a low level of harm to the environment and people (recycling or from renewable elements), sourced from local suppliers. The materials used in the Gleeds Warsaw office were not only used for the benefit of the environment, but also for the comfort of the users. 

Sustainable practices also generate financial benefits, for example appropriate, energy saving lighting system or fittings reduces electricity or water consumption. These savings have a measurable impact on maintenance costs.

The main advantage of existing buildings is the location - optimal positions, near to communication networks with easy access. The Blue Tower is close to green areas, retail points and restaurants, it is easy to commute to by car, public transit or by bicycle. The varied landscape view from the windows of the Blue Tower, led to the organisation of Gleeds Polska staff’s work stations alongside the glass façade, to ensure the visual comfort of users. The existing structural elements created natural zones suited to specific activities. 

Sustainable office spaces can be achieved in many ways – not only during the construction phases but also through modernization or by setting new standard of utilizing space. Awareness of environmental protection and employee’s wellbeing relevance continues to increase with the introduction of new standards of green building.

This what so far has been considered a domain of new developments can become an attribute for existing buildings which are landmarks within a city. The example Gleeds Polska set demonstrates that with the support of specialists many older buildings may get a second chance and become an attractive space offering a range of amenities friendly for the environment and the comfort of tenants.

Auteur
Justyna Chmielewska

Justyna Chmielewska
Head of Sustainability, Gleeds Polska