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Budapest’s greenest office utilizes rain, trees, and sunlight


3/1/2017 1:43 PM

Office workers who spend at least eight hours a day at their workplace know how important good architectural solutions and the building’s comfort level can be. The office building Nordic Light was handed over in December, and provides more than your average workplace for its tenants: in Budapest’s ‘Office of the Year 2016’ competition, it placed first in the category ‘Green Property Project of the Year’. Being fond of greenery, we decided to take a look at the structure, built in a Scandinavian spirit.

The competition ‘Office of the Year’ has been organized in Budapest every year since 2010 with several categories, including ‘Coworking Office of the Year’ and ‘Real Estate Personality of the Year’. This year’s main theme was adapting to changes, and approximately ten offices applied for the category ‘Green Property Project of the Year’. The office building Nordic Light, located on Váci Road near Árpád Bridge, was handed over in December. As of now, 85% of the seven-story building is already leased, and it has a new owner: Erste Asset Management.

The project was implemented within the development of the Swedish Skanska, and the green Scandinavian concept even received the gold-certification level of the professionally significant green-building rating system, LEED. (This isn’t their first similar building: the famous Green House was also awarded in the ‘Office of the Year 2013’.) Completely self-sufficient office buildings aren’t rare in Sweden, and by building Nordic Light, the goal of the designer, Mérték Group Ltd., and the leader of the sustainable concept, ABUD Ltd., was to create a building with near-zero energy consumption.

Budapest’s greenest office utilizes rain, trees, and sunlight

Photo: Skanska

Although there’s a beautiful inner garden, a community terrace on the fifth floor with small trees and various plants, and an impressive green wall providing a background to the reception area, the building’s environmentally conscious mindset isn’t just external, but internal in a technological aspect, as well. The construction steel is 100% recycled, the carpets are made with 45% recycled material, and the adhesive, sealant, and paint are LEED VOC certified. By day, the office building looks like any other modern building complex, but in the evening, it delights passersby with a colorful light show similar to the Northern Lights. Incidentally, the LED bulbs that create this show can be programmed to display other light installations, as well.

What the office workers of Nordic Light can experience every day in the green concept is, again, light. Thanks to the building’s special open orientation, almost all important areas (with the exception of the stairwells, corridors, and restrooms) receive natural light; an automatic shade system, which can also be operated manually, adjusts depending on the amount of sunshine.

Budapest’s greenest office utilizes rain, trees, and sunlight

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

The rent of the offices is approximately the same as in other modern office buildings, but tenants can save a lot on the operational costs and service fees. The solar panels on the rooftop can generate up to 50,000 kWh of energy, while the restrooms use low-flow taps and gray water, collected into a 100-110-square-meter tank from a rainwater- and groundwater-recovery system, for flushing the toilets and urinals. This is also used to water the garden and other green areas through an automatic watering system.

The three-story underground garage has a special charging station for electric cars, as well as bicycle racks, locker rooms, and showers for cyclists. Another unique solution is the usage of smart elevators throughout the seven-story building, which calculate the most optimal route when carrying multiple passengers.

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