Certificates of energy and environmental efficiency are increasingly part of planned office buildings, logistics complexes and new shopping centres. There is less interest in certification for buildings that have already been built and are operating. Though to the lay public it may seem that the decision to acquire certification is only a marketing tool, such certification (and therefore also the desired energy savings) represents a considerable intervention in the daily operation of the building, even for several years. After carefully comparing the two most well-known certification methods, the owner of Galerie Harfa, the Lighthouse Group, chose LEED. Unlike the competing BREEAM, for which it is possible to exclude the area of the leased spaces, LEED assessed the building as a whole, thus including the tenants' spaces. LEED certification places a greater emphasis on measurable cost savings for energy. This is given by the inclusion of an energy audit according to the international ASHRAE standard in the minimum requirements and it represents one of the main reasons why this certification was applied to Galerie Harfa. Thanks to the energy audit, the operation of the entire building was optimised and thus Galerie Harfa could show high savings on operating expenses.
"We made the decision to begin the activity leading to savings as part of the LEED certification two years ago. We were not aiming at a concrete certification level since our shopping centre had already been operating for a few years and thus we were aware of the difficulty of the implementation, which is incomparably greater than for buildings that are "on paper". Plus shopping centres are at a disadvantage compared to office buildings in terms of energy savings due to the almost non-stop opening hours and the large number of visitors that come to shop in the centre every day or come for entertainment and leisure. The obligation to recertify every five years is a great plus for us as it will enable us to either maintain the savings we have reached or, in light of new technologies, to increase them even further," stated Tamir Winterstein, the Executive Director and Partner of the Lighthouse Group.
This was also confirmed by the consultants from SENTIENT, which managed and arranged the LEED certification for Galerie Harfa. As Martin Scheuch, the company's agent, stated: "Getting a certificate for a building that has already been standing for some time and does not have the absolute latest technology is quite demanding. But if all the technical equipment is properly configured and tuned, it ensures the reliable and flawless functioning of the measuring and regulation system, then the building can function even better than a newly-built building with certification. And that was a success in Galerie Harfa. Plus in this instance the entire building was assessed, including the tenants' spaces, which is the greatest difference in comparison with BREEAM In Use and this fact raises the credibility of the acquired assessment even higher." Pavel Srb, LEED AP, who led the certification, added: "When there are a large number of tenants it is often not possible to get some of the evaluation credits concerning, for example, surveys of satisfaction with the quality of the internal environment or commuting to work. But with professional help on the part of the centre's administration we also managed to succeed here as well."
For Galerie Harfa the decrease of the energy intensity meant the implementation of a series of energy-saving measures in the areas of ventilation, heating and cooling, on which the consultants from SENTIENT cooperated with OPTIMAL Engineering. Jiří Kubias, the company's Design Director, described the individual measures: "In order to achieve energy savings it was necessary to arrange the optimisation of the ventilation unit operations for the common spaces, reflecting the current occupancy of the shopping centre, supplemented with the smooth regulation of the performance of the ventilation equipment for the retail units according to the occupancy pattern, supplemented with the smooth regulation of the circulation pumps for the cooling tower circuit and the optimisation of the operations of the heat exchangers and the limitation of fluctuations in heat consumption." Thanks to the introduction of these measures Galerie Harfa achieved energy savings of 6.1 %. Not only did the tenants and employees of the centre have to cooperate, but so did the external suppliers such as companies for waste removal, gardening and cleaning. They all had to realistically adapt their work for Galerie Harfa to LEED's requirements and to show their conformity by submitting their work results.
Achieving the savings does not only mean less of a burden on the environment, but also brings benefits for the centre's tenants and customers. Thanks to lower expenses for their retail units tenants can dedicate more funds to increasing the number of employees, perfecting the interior of the shop or providing special sales, for example. As part of the area of innovation the certification also took into account special spaces and services such as the expansive garden on the terrace, babysitting services and the many sporting and educational activities that Galerie Harfa offers its visitors and the employees of the adjacent offices.
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Galerie Harfa in Prague's Vysočany district with 49,000 m2 of retail and entertainment space on three levels was opened in November 2010. From the very beginning of its operations it has profiled itself as a new generation shopping centre. One of its exceptional features is its connection with the neighbouring O2 arena, one of the most modern complexes of this type in Europe. Customers do not only shop in Galerie Harfa's 160 shops, but they also enjoy entertainment, sports and fashions. The shopping centre also includes 1600 free parking spots. Ever since April 2011 the rooftop of Galerie Harfa can boast a DinoPark, which is the only one in Prague and brings an open concept of entertainment and education to the capital city that is well known in Plzeň, Ostrava and Vyškov. In the winter months there is a skating rink measuring 20 × 30 m on the roof. In May 2015 The Czech Hockey Hall of Fame was opened in Galerie Harfa. The developer and investor of the project is C&R Developments, a member of the Lighthouse Group. As part of Galerie Harfa it has completed two ten-storey towers with 20,500 m2 of office space, now fully occupied. In the coming years the multifunctional complex will expand with more offices and a hotel with a conference centre. The developer and investor of the project is thus contributing significantly to the revitalisation of the territory of the former ČKD plant and the building of Nové Vysočany.
SENTIENT is currently one of the largest independent consulting companies in the real estate and construction segments operating in Central and Eastern Europe. The company cooperates with all types of clients and organisations, from international corporations, national and special-purpose companies to banks, insurance firms, development companies, architecture and design offices and international financial institutions. SENTIENT now provides consulting on projects in 13 countries. The company has permanent offices in Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Warsaw, Bucharest, Zagreb and in Montenegro. SENTIENT provides services in all construction segments.
OPTIMAL began operating in the Czech Republic in 1994 as part of the company OPTIMAL Praha. First it profiled itself as a construction and installation company working in the area of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing work. It later expanded its offer of services to include technical building management. In 2005 the Design and Construction Division split off, leading to the creation of OPTIMAL Engineering. It is involved in the comprehensive design of technical installations including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems. The installations are carried out in industrial complexes, office buildings, hotels, theatres, shopping centres, public buildings and logistic centres. OPTIMAL Engineering realises both complex built-to-suit projects and small installations.
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