The benefits of investing sustainably were discussed on 12 February at the first Polish nationwide conference, Sustainable Construction – Tradition and Modernity, organised by construction firm MCKB and held in Lodz’s historical Grohman Factory.
Speakers and guests discussed the issue of sustainable development in construction, including the refurbishment of historical premises, also in terms of taking care of monuments and cultural development. The conference met with much interest. Almost 150 guests arrived at the head office of the Lodz Special Economic Zone, located within the refurbished Ksiezy Mlyn district. Participants included Kamila Kwiecinska-Trzewikowska, the city’s conservator of monuments, and Blazej Moder, president of the board of the New Centre of Lodz. Among the guests there were investors, developers, sector experts and all those interested in implementation of sustainable development in Poland. It was an opportunity to learn about green buildings in our country, to share the results of research about the realisation of this kind of building, including refurbishment of post-industrial areas.
“As general contractor in the refurbishment of the historical Grohman Factory, we decided to discuss the issue of sustainable construction more widely with sector experts, engineers and architects,” said Piotr Grabowicz, president of the Board of MCKB. “Our mission, as a socially responsible company, is to promote ecological construction policies, energy-saving buildings and taking care of the natural environment.”
The conference was divided into two panels. The first was devoted to benefits resulting from the implementation of sustainable development solutions, BREEAM and LEED certificates. The advantages of these over traditional methods of construction were presented by Mateusz Walewski of PwC, a global consulting agency that specialises in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, involved in a research Business Case for Green Building in Poland. An increasing growth of popularity of building certification for the last few years was discussed by Rafal Schurma, founder and president of PLGBC (Polish Green Building Council). The point of view of investors, developers and tenants of green buildings was presented by Katarzyna Chwalbinska-Kusek, business development & marketing manager, Central Europe at Buro Happold. Examples of economically justified implementations of energy-saving solutions made an impression on the audience thanks to the presentation of Jaroslaw Krawiec, director of the Investment Projects Preparation Department at Qualia Development.
The second conference panel concerned the integration of cultural heritage with the realisation of projects. An example of this kind of an investment was the historical 19th century Grohman’s Factory, refurbished by MCKB, which delegates could see with their own eyes. The history of the building, now the headquarters of the Lodz Special Economic Zone, was presented by Tomasz Sadzynski, president of LSEZ. Another refurbished building, the huge post-industrial entertainment and retail complex, Manufaktura, was presented by Mariusz Zatylny from Sud Architekt Polska. The issue of cultural heritage was continued by Martyna Podsekowska-Olczyk of MCKB, who explained the revitalisation process of the Andels Hotel, in which she had participated on behalf of an Austrian investor. Marcin Klukowski, as the leading architect, depicted the history of the Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton, erected within the area of the former Feature Film Studios. The New Centre of Lodz, an example of a complex revitalisation of a major urban centre, was described in details by Blazej Moder, who is directing its project management.
“Sustainable development is becoming a standard, and our conference links this with the issue of ecological solutions used in the construction sector,” added Piotr Grabowicz. “The event was a experience-sharing platform for experts and inspired further discussions about the future of construction in our country. We met with much interest from specialists, the content of the event was assessed positively, and we are planning to continue with this initiative.”
The organiser of the event, the Lodz construction company MCKB, is a general contractor that carries out construction of manufacturing, commercial and public utility facilities. MCKB is Polish National Champion in the construction sector in the prestigious European Business Awards. PwC, a global consulting agency, and PLGBC – Polish Green Building Council were the content partners. The Lodz Special Economic Zone and the Lodz Chapter of Business Centre Club, a prestigious club of entrepreneurs and the largest Polish organisation uniting individual employers, were the partners.