Step 3: Building

When designing a new headquarters, it is worth paying attention to the criteria prepared by the Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC):

1. Effective use of resources, particularly non-renewable energy and water.
2. Ensuring a healthy and comfortable environment for the users of the building.
3. Responsibility with respect to the neighbourhood and location.
4. Flexibility and adaptability of the building, installations and appliances as a way to protect resources and save money.
5. Installing building management systems monitoring and controlling the appliances and installations to minimise the use of energy and other resources.
6. Minimising waste production and recycling.
7. Using environmentally-friendly materials complying with at least one of these criteria:
– made from recycled materials or agricultural waste,
– their production does not involve exploitation of natural resources,
negative environmental impact associated with their production, destruction or repair is minimised,
– during their production process care is taken to save energy and water,
– they contribute to a healthy and safe interior environment,
– they have been produced locally.
8. Avoiding toxic and otherwise harmful emissions (link).

Energy-saving insulation.
It limits heat loss and building overheating. It can consist of thickening the thermal insulation or using a material with better thermal properties.

Energy-saving ventilation.
Heat losses in the building can be limited by increasing the insulation, minimizing heat loss through thermal bridges or by adequate ventilation. In many existing buildings natural ventilation does not work very well, so in order to better manage air quality and temperature, it is advisable to use mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. It allows for a controlled outflow and inflow of air into the building, combining it with the heat exchanger in the air handling unit. Its operation can be illustrated in the following way: cold air, sucked in from outside, passes through the heat exchanger and is heated by the used-up return air which is removed from the inside of the building.

The heat pump.
A system that uses energy stored in the ground, extracting heat from the outside air or using hydrothermal energy. The heat pump reduces CO2 emissions and produces no exhaust fumes. There is no flammable fuel in the building, so heat pumps are safe for users. Heat pumps require electricity. It is therefore worth choosing a supplier offering energy from renewable sources.

Solar panels.
This makes it possible to produce electrical energy from solar radiation, it can work in conjunction with other sustainable equipment e.g. a heat pump. The pump can use the energy produced by solar panels. One advantage of such an installation is the fact that we can produce energy to run the building ourselves, which helps lower operating costs.

Greywater system.
Greywater is waste water which is produced during daily activities such as bathing or washing up. As part of a greywater recovery system, water from the basin, shower or sink goes through various levels of filtration so that it can be used again. Such water can be used for everything, including drinking, but the method of filtration is a significant challenge. [link]

Energy-efficient server room.
Air-conditioning systems may be upgraded to make use of the heat from the server room to warm up other rooms. Modern air-conditioning systems offer cooling with minimum energy consumption. [link]

Advanced control systems and automation of the power system.
They make it possible to reduce the use of energy in rarely used parts of the building or optimise the production, distribution and emission of heat in the building. It is worth considering systems optimising the quality of air in the building with minimum energy consumption, lowering the temperature of warm water, controlling lighting by lowering light levels depending on the intensity of natural light and degree of use. The movement of sun protection screens controlling the amount of heat and light delivered to the building can also be automated. [link]

Wall colour.
If you plan to redecorate the walls, you could choose light and warm colours, which reflect light well. They also optically enlarge rooms, giving a sense of spaciousness.

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