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Elemental Skanste to become the first building in Latvia rated Outstanding by BREEAM

Following redesign, the office building project Elemental Skanste being constructed in the Skanste neighbourhood of Riga has undergone a series of changes and research with the key aim of becoming BREEAM Outstanding certified upon completing the construction. It is thus to become the first building in Latvia with such a high rating.

The Elemental Skanste office building project handled by Kapitel and Merks has been rated Excellent according to BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). So far, only six new developments in Latvia have achieved such a high rating.

Elemental Skanste is a next-generation office building in Riga using state-of-the-art technological construction solutions and innovative energy efficiency ideas, which has allowed obtaining the second-highest BREEAM rating. Eco-friendly geothermal piles are used in the construction, enabling the users of the building to utilise renewable natural resources during the heating and cooling seasons. The geothermal piles will provide up to 72% of the energy consumption of the building, with only the remaining difference having to be purchased externally. This will substantially lower the costs during the heating season.

“By implementing this project, we not only want Elemental Skanste to be environmentally and people-friendly. We also want to be leaders in terms of innovation because, after all, what really matters is the opinion of our tenants and the residents of the Skanste neighbourhood. We have set ourselves the aim of obtaining BREEAM Outstanding rating and we plan to achieve it by setting a new standard in the construction industry in Latvia,” says Imants Krēsliņš, head of sales of Elemental Skanste.

Member of the Board and Construction Director of Merks Andris Bišmeistars also emphasises that all aspects that would contribute to obtaining the highest possible BREEAM rating have been considered in the project development process.

“One of the key advantages of working according to the integrated Design & Build approach is one-stop implementation of full-cycle design work and construction services, leading to a better result. Therefore, as part of the redesign of the Elemental Skanste office building, we were able to come up with innovative ways and solutions to achieve the highest possible BREEAM rating in the future. This is a great example of the advantages of thoughtful and diligent teamwork in combination with Merks’ years of experience in the construction industry,“ A. Bišmeistars adds.

He also points out that during the construction of the project the developers focused on sustainable thinking, including thorough recycling of waste. It is equally important to improve the engineering systems’ management to reduce consumption during periods of low demand, while maintaining the expected comfort level.

The Outstanding rating for Elemental Skanste is the highest on the BREEAM rating scale consisting of five levels in total – Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding. Having currently achieved the Excellent rating, the Elemental Skanste project has successfully demonstrated that the building complies with more than 70% of BREEAM standards, for example, that the project reduces the life-cycle environmental impact of the building, provides economic benefits and creates healthy environment for people. Should Elemental Skanste obtain the Outstanding rating, it will mean that the building has complied with at least 85% of the standards mentioned above. It is worth noting that so far the highest BREEAM rating obtained in Latvia has been Excellent, therefore, if Elemental Skanste is rated Outstanding, it will be the first building in Latvia with such a high rating.

Aļona Purvlīce, sustainable development consultant for Vesta Consulting, confirms that additional solutions were implemented as early as in the design phase, helping to carry out the construction of Elemental Skanste in accordance with the highest BREEAM standards. It also included energy efficiency improvements in line with the developments in the energy market this year.

BREEAM is an international building assessment system used across Europe since 1990. A BREEAM certificate certifies the compliance of the building with high energy efficiency and sustainability standards, as well as that the building project provides environmentally and people-friendly solutions.

Elemental Skanste is a project of two connected 10-floor buildings scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2023. The total area of the two connected buildings will be 33,500 m², 21,000 m² of which are planned as Grade A offices for rent. In addition to the office premises, there is going to be a conference centre, a co-working area, parking for 400 bicycles, showers, changing rooms, as well as various catering and service facilities. Once completed, the building will have approximately 500 parking spaces available, including 200 underground ones, as well as 40 electric vehicle charging locations.