Slovak developer Corwin has announced that its office projects in Bratislava and Ljubljana will soon join the list of LEED Zero Carbon certified carbon neutral buildings of which there are only 8 in existence at the moment – Property Forum reports.
Getting ahead of goals
While lowering emissions is a topic with top priority for the past years, total carbon neutrality is only expected by 2050. And even though Slovakia and Slovenia do not currently possess any carbon-neutral buildings, the country has good prospects to get ahead of the EU goals. As Corwin plans to create the first LEED Zero Carbon certified office portfolio in the world, Slovakia could gain 4 net-zero buildings in the next few years.
How can this happen?
Erik Fusík, Project Manager at CORWIN told Property Forum, that creating net-zero buildings start at the design table, but the mindset accompanies such a project throughout the construction phase as well. Keeping that in mind, CORWIN always tries to maximize the use of recycled and local materials, making the buildings as energy-efficient as possible. Utilising renewable natural energy through heat pumps or covering the roof with vegetation are part of a complex set of measures which will minimize the project’s energy use.
Even highly sustainable buildings produce a certain amount of CO2
Blumental Offices, the company’s first office development, is a holder of a LEED Gold certificate. Einpark Offices, the first office building in Slovakia, holds a LEED Platinum certification, being one of the less than 1% of buildings around the world to achieve this level. Vilharia, which is set to become the most sustainable office in Slovenia, was also pre-certified with this level. The same is expected of the brownfield revitalisation project Palma.
Obviously, even with highly sustainable buildings, daily operations do produce a certain amount of CO2. “The carbon footprint is calculated based on the amount of consumed electricity and fuels during one calendar year. The kWh of each energy meter contains a value in grams of CO2. We even quantify the footprint the users of a particular building have by travelling to and from work. The resulting measure of operational carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide produced by transport gives us the full CO2 footprint of the building. That is offset through carbon credits,” explains Samuel Sůra, CEO of the certification company SALVIS. Carbon credits are created through investments into projects and technologies that lower or consume CO2 produced in the world – those could for example be new renewable energy sources or the planting of trees – as Property Forum points out.
Emission can be heavily influenced by the tenants themselves
Of course, the entire process is not a one-time thing. The evaluation is repeated each year to ensure that each gram of carbon dioxide is accounted for and offset through credits. The result can be heavily influenced by the tenants themselves, for example by using alternative forms of transport which Corwin incentivises. Both existing projects, as well as the upcoming Palma and Vilharia, have excellent public transport connections and can easily be accessed on foot. Electric car chargers, showers and bike rooms are also available in the buildings.
“In short, we have made sure that the location and project design allows for the easiest possible access without the need to ever use a car,” emphasises Fusík. That also contributes toward gaining the LEED Zero Carbon certificate.
Photos: Corwin, Vilharia