Thousands of trees and flower meadows: how to care for the climate in office buildings

100,000 trees planted, meadows sewn with flowers, saving wild and honey bees, and biodiversity projects. Such initiatives are implemented by residents of Olivia Business Centre. Olivia itself also offers 24,000 m2 of biologically active area, implements projects for sustainable transport, energy recovery, and draws heat from geothermal sources. It is surprising how many ecological projects can be implemented in one office centre, and Olivia Business Centre, on the occasion of World Earth Day, is announcing a new climate awareness program for 2021.

In the recently completed Olivia Prize competition organized by the Olivia Business Centre, the largest number of applications concerned social and environmental projects implemented by both large global corporations and smaller enterprises. The largest-scale enterprise was ABAX planting 100,000 trees in Malawi. The company is recreating an ecosystem that has suffered from intense devastation in the last 10 years

ABAX has had a particularly good year in terms of environmental and social responsibility, and our employees were almost hyperactive in this regard – says Dorota Orzęcka, Digital Marketing Manager from ABAX.In 2020, we planted over 100,000 trees in collaboration with our partner WeForest and supported seven local projects close to our offices. Environmental and social responsibility is part of each of our services, which is why we plant a new tree on the occasion of each subscription. Together with WeForest, we form a team supporting the reforestation program in Malawi. We are making huge efforts to counteract the excessive cutting down of forest areas that used to cover one third of the entire country. Logging has led to the loss of biodiversity and poses a constant threat of lowering the quality and safety of the waters in the area, which is a key resource for thousands of families living there. The project is vigorously implemented in cooperation with local NGOs, the Faculty of Forestry and ten local forest nurseries. – adds Dorota Orzęcka.

Energa Grupa ORLEN, and also based in Olivia, has implemented a number of projects, including initiatives to protect the white stork, such as the installation of platforms for stork nests on power poles or assistance in ringing birds (the „Energa Group Energy Ringers” project). The company also launched a Biodiversity Energy campaign, under which it recreates meadow ecosystems. In this way, it contributes to the development of wastelands in the Narew lagoon system in order to increase biodiversity and ultimately save wild and honey bees. In the following years, the plan is to install hives for educational purposes, as well as to launch workshops for children and teenagers on the construction of „hotels” for wild bees, and to create educational paths.

The energy of biodiversity is a comprehensive pro-environmental, ecological and educational project – says Dr. Alina Skorb-Gała, head of the ESG Department at Energi SA. – Flower meadows help to save forgotten species of plants and animals, they provide food for wild bees, giving them space to live and, in winter, shelter. Plants growing in meadows contribute to lowering the air temperature.

Another pro-ecological initiative is the technological project EVAA (Ecological Vertical Agriculture Assistant), implemented by a team of Sii Polska engineers. As part of the Sii Passion Sponsorship Program, experts from the Gdańsk branch are developing a system that uses artificial intelligence for plant breeding. The main assumption of the project is to reduce water consumption and the area necessary for cultivation. The ecological aspect is extremely important here. In our approach, we want to apply amplification learning to control the physical process of plant development. – says Paweł Czapiewski, project team leader. Reinforcement learning is a special type of artificial intelligence. The idea is that the algorithm only receives a feedback as a reward if the lettuce is thriving. It has to figure out how to achieve optimal results. – adds Paweł Czapiewski.

Olivia announces a climate awareness program

On April 22, International Earth Day, Olivia Business Centre launches a new program to promote climate awareness, under which it will promote activities for sustainable development and transport, as well as reducing energy consumption.

The exacting certifications we undergo confirm that our buildings are a model example of thinking about human well-being and environmental friendliness – says Hamish Potts from Olivia Business Centre. – We want to promote  sustainability, including the reduction of waste production, and more responsible use of water and energy., We want to create a more circular Olivia, promoting pro-ecological attitudes, and motivating our employees and employees of Olivia’s residents to think about the environmental footprint that each of us leaves in their daily activities; to take up the challenge of change for the better. – adds Hamish Potts.

Due to the technological solutions used, the Olivia Business Centre buildings have received high marks in the BREEAM certification, from excellent to very good. Recently, they were the first buildings in the world, to obtain the maximum Well certification score, issued by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), in 25 analyzed categories. Such high marks were awarded for exceptional concern for the health and well-being of people working in Olivia. IWBI advisors  recognized both the technological solutions such as titanium coatings, which counteract the deposition of viruses, bacteria and fungi on common surfaces of buildings, and ionizers that purify almost 100% of the air circulating throughout the buildings, as well as recovering energy from the operation of elevator cabins, extracting heat from a depth of 95 meters below the garage halls of buildings or automatically switching off the air conditioning when the windows are opened. Ecological LED light sources are used in all buildings and they are 100% recyclable.

The dominant trend in designing the latest buildings is biophilic design, which puts human well-being at the centre of attention: architectural and functional solutions used in buildings help to ensure a balance between moments of intense work during the day and, just as importantly, moments of rest and relaxation. Olivia Garden, which is undergoing the final preparations before opening, is also part of this trend – an exotic garden with over 800 m2 of space, which will be filled with over 4,000 plants representing 150 species.

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