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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 29, 2012
Business & Economy
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Going Green, Saving Money
August 29, 2012   
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Maciej Brożek, who is in charge of finding tenants for buildings constructed by developer Torus, talks to Elżbieta Wrzecionkowska about a new approach to green construction and about Alchemia, the company’s latest project in Gdańsk.

Alchemia is one of the largest green projects under construction in northern Poland. Can you tell us more about it?
Alchemia has been a green project ever since the planning phase. Designing the most cutting-edge multifunctional office complex in northern Poland, we wanted it to be user and environmentally friendly. After all, people spend a major part of their lives in the office. The conditions in which you work directly impact your efficiency as an employee, your health and general state of mind. We made it a priority to make sure that all Alchemia users, employees and visitors would feel good here. All the components of our project, including the architecture, technical installations and security systems, were designed to help us achieve this goal. As far as environmental protection is concerned, I can still recall what the late Prof. Stefan Kuryłowicz, one of Poland’s greatest architects, said at a conference on offices in 2010: “To say that any building is environmentally friendly is rubbish and that is something we have to accept... Our role is to minimize the negative impact.” I believe his words are the most spot-on explanation of the point in designing and constructing “green” buildings.

What can future tenants and residents of Gdańsk and nearby cities expect of Alchemia? What makes it special?
It is an exceptional project on many levels, but what makes it different from other buildings which are currently under construction in Gdańsk is the wide range of services it will deliver other than state-of-the-art office space. Alchemia will have the largest sports and recreation center in Poland with a 25-meter swimming pool, a full-size sports hall, a 15-meter climbing wall, a large gym, rooms for keep-fit sessions and with exercise bikes. There will also be a wellness center designed especially for women. All this is intended to help people recharge their batteries, work out and swim close to where they work. The building will also house a restaurant or canteen. All these facilities will, naturally, be open to visitors from outside. Almost 100 parking spaces has been designated for them on one level of Alchemia’s parking lot.

When can the first tenants move into Alchemia?
We have recently completed the most difficult and time-consuming construction phase, which is a four-storey base housing all the facilities I have mentioned. We will spend the rest of this year completing the shell and core of the complex, planning to put the facades on it by March 2013. At the same time, we will be working on installations inside the building and giving it the finishing touches. Alchemia will be ready for occupancy at the end of September 2013, so that new tenants will be able to move their furniture into the new office space starting Oct. 1, 2013. The construction is progressing without delay and the weather is on our side.

You’ve been seeking to obtain the highest, platinum, status for Alchemia under the LEED green building rating system. What technology and approaches are involved in obtaining such a certificate?
The LEED certification procedure for Alchemia began when the complex was being designed. We were the second developer in Poland, after Skanska, to be awarded pre-certification at the highest, Platinum level. Alchemia is now going through the Design Review phase, which is the second in three certification stages. We hope to obtain this highest of ratings after the construction is completed along with the Construction Review stage. What does that mean to Alchemia users? To begin with, there will be procedures to govern the use of resources such as water, heat and electricity, all to save energy. That is what green buildings are all about: ensuring as much comfort and safety for people as possible with the lowest possible energy expenditure. To substantiate my words, let me add that, compared to a building of a similar size, but without the certificate, Alchemia will provide total savings of around 26 percent, with 50 percent for water alone. Those are major savings which translate into low operating costs. Going green is not about trends and fads, it’s essentially about saving money.
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