Interview: Antoniu Panait, Managing Director at VASTINT Romania - Part 1

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-05-14   06:54
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Developing highly efficient green buildings in Bucharest - Part 1

Antoniu Panait, Managing Director at VASTINT Romania, talked to CIJ about one of the company’s most important developments, Business Garden Bucharest, and about the prerogative of developing highly efficient, green buildings in the context of the European Union’s newest mandates regarding ESG.

Business Garden Bucharest, which was built between 2017 and 2019, is the sixth project of this kind built by Vastint in Europe, (another three are now under development phase) part of a family of Business Garden projects meant to provide the tenants with the possibility to find the same quality and a familiar space in different countries. Panait said that he believed the job of a developer is “to make an easy journey, or life, for our tenants, and to create the canvas which will help them to further adapt the space to their needs.”

Business Garden Bucharest office building A holds LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) score of 98, the third highest score worldwide in the Core & Shell category. The other two buildings, B and C, follow closely, making Business Garden Bucharest the office project with the highest LEED score in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

When asked how Vastint managed to obtain this prestigious qualification, Panait explained that there were two main factors which brought the project to this high level: the passion of a small team which “know everything from the first digging until the last screw of the building”, and the stakeholders which have long-term vision and very clear requirements, as well as no desire to compromise on environment and quality.

The project has been carefully thought out from the very beginning: “we start analysing everything in the interest of the tenant, from the first decision we take.” First on the list was the classical “location, location, location”: choosing a central location which would grant easy access to all areas of the city, as well as proximity to the Orhideea Shopping Centre with everything it has to offer, from shopping opportunities to restaurants, and parking spaces and Orhidea Spa – the biggest SPA centre in Bucharest

This location was also complemented by the closeness to two central railway stations, Gara de Nord and Basarab, two subway stations, Grozăvești and Basarab and the new Basarab bridge. This guaranteed, on the one hand, the project’s attractiveness on the long run because it is easy to reach, and, on the other, a lower environmental footprint, due to the closeness of public transport and therefore the lack of reliance on car traffic.

Panait explained: “The next step was to see what we can do more from [the] environmental perspective.” From the very moment of the land plot purchase, Vastint were already gathering points for the environmental qualification, by considering factors such as reusing materials generated by demolition work for internal roads and fighting pollution by cleaning out the old factories in the area.

Each stage of development meant further considerations which would add up to a green, efficient building. A very important element was choosing a façade with a 60-40 ratio of glass, which is very efficient and very well insulated against noise and water. Panait explained that they reached this solution by performing a study of the minimum and maximum temperatures in Bucharest. This led to the conclusion that, despite their frequent use, in this city, fully glazed façades generate a very high consumption of energy for cooling and heating and should be avoided.

Other elements of efficiency added to the buildings were the LED lighting, chosen based on studies regarding the proper lumen level required, a lower consumption of materials, the latest cooling and heating technology, elevators that generate energy when they go down, as well as fresh air equipment which does not allow fresh and used air to mix.

Talking about fresh air, Panait also mentioned that the state-of-the-art ventilation equipment used helped position these buildings in a very advantageous position during the pandemic.

He also added :“our free height is three meters from [the] raised floor and until [the] ceiling. […] It's interesting because at Business Garden we lost one floor for each building because of this, […] because we believe […] that for the future, for the long run, you need a proper experience and […] enough volume of fresh air in the buildings.”

Last but not least, the project also boasts more than 30% of green area, with hundreds of plants and trees. Panait explained: “When the designers came for the greenery, I said be careful. The project is named Business Garden Bucharest. Garden. So, we need to create a garden. It's between the very few projects in the city centre that have [a] really green area”.

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