Green building in Greece takes home the gold

Surrounded by thyme, rosemary and lavender, Architect Sandra Bär sits down, smelling the herbs. Now, you might think she is in a traditional herb garden, but actually she is on the rooftop of the new Karela Office Park building in Athens. Here, nothing is normal. Underneath her feet is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-certification building.

“Here we have a building which uses advanced technology and sustainable ideas that you can imagine,” Sandra Bär says.

The building is the first of its kind in Greece. It is the home of the largest mobile network operator, COSMOTE, and the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, OTE. The company behind the green building design is Dimand, a real estate development firm

Sandra Bär has been in charge of the LEED certification. She explains that the goal of the project was to create an intelligent building through automation technologies.

“The tender document was actually so strict that within every sustainable solution used in the building, not many companies could live up to our demands. Every solution had to be energy efficient, otherwise it would be impossible to get the LEED gold certification,” she says.

Full-range supplier

One of the chosen suppliers of products and knowledge was Grundfos. Sandra Bär highlights that Grundfos was capable of delivering solutions which could solve all the different tasks where water should be moved.

“The fact that Grundfos is a full-range supplier meant that we only needed one supplier of pumps. In addition, the pumps are very energy efficient and reliable,” she says.

Approximately 80 pumps ranging from circulator pumps to vertical pressure pumps ensures that the water is led through the system, whether employees are taking a shower in the gym, or the herbs on the garden roof need watering.

Pumps are also a part of the air conditioning system, and they ensure that the internal wastewater treatment plant runs smoothly. Finally, the fire fighting-system is a Grundfos solution. According to Operations Manager George Anestis, the project is a milestone for Grundfos Hellas.

“I think this showcases that with our full range of intelligent, reliable and energy-efficient pumps, we can add value to our customers’ business,” he says.

New ways of thinking

1,100 people work in the building, and for many of them it has been quite a change. According to Deputy Director Aggeliki Papailiopoulou from the Construction Department, the employees, who come from six different locations, mostly downtown Athens, have taken some time to see the benefits of for instance the automated lights and the water-saving technology, which means reduced water flow due to an aerator in the fixture.

“Using less energy calls for solutions that people are not used to, but we want to be a sustainable company, and therefore we strive to tell our employees why we have implemented the specific solutions, how they work and, in particular, how they will benefit the climate,” she says.

According to Sandra Bär, the project shows what can be done for the environment when constructing a new building.

“All the right sustainable solutions are available – but it takes a visionary and passionate mind to combine them in a unique result,” she says.