BWI Group, a global automotive suspension parts design and manufacturing company, has moved into a unique passive building in Europe. The group’s research and development centre will begin operations in Balice near Kraków, where advanced technologies will be developed to increase the functionality of shock absorbers. The developer, 7R, has prepared an energy self-sufficient facility for the company, using an advanced trigeneration system. The general contractor for the investment was Bremer.
Over the last 10 years, the BWI Group has acquired a number of new projects, which have doubled the staff numbers in the company’s Technical Centre in Kraków, and generated the need for more operational space. The modern and environmentally friendly facility, provided by 7R, totals over 11,000 sqm of laboratory and office space, and is a location for nearly 400 engineers specialising in research, design and production processes for car suspensions.
“For a number of years, we have been cooperating extensively with international clients in Kraków. When choosing the location for our new headquarters, we were guided by the fact that we wanted our new location to act as a showcase for our company. The priority was to find a suitable building in a prestigious area, which was in easy reach of both the city and the airport. We are part of the automotive sector, which also imposes on us a responsibility for the environment. All these conditions were met by 7R’s offer. We believe that the enormous amount of work put into ensuring that the building meets the highest quality criteria and is environmentally friendly will translate into the well-being and comfort of our staff. We also want the BWI Group centre to be an important and recognizable part of Balice’s commercial landscape,” says Krzysztof Kucharczak, Director of BWI Group Technical Centre.
The high-tech trigeneration system allows for the gas turbine to generate the energy needed to power, heat, cool and ventilate the building. When it comes to supplying media to the BWI Group’s centre in Balice, only gas is required for the facility. It is used for the staff canteen and directed to the trigeneration unit where the gas turbine produces electricity. The heat generated by the engine and the hot exhaust gas is used in two ways: heating water for the facility and heating the building itself. Secondly, in the summer, when the heat produced is not fully utilized, the heated water is directed to an absorption unit where its energy is used to produce cold water.
“We are talking about the unique innovation of the trigeneration system in the BWI Group’s facility, because it was the first time that we applied it in a commercial office and laboratory building in Poland. So far, such solutions have been implemented in waste incineration plants and large industrial plants. In the facility, we have used high-sampling automation, with any excess power being fed back into the local power grid,” says Bartłomiej Krawiecki, Member of the Board, Head of Development at 7R.
The BWI Group Technical Centre is not only self-sufficient in energy. The building also has its own well and manages water efficiently throughout the premises.
“We have built a water treatment plant from a well that was drilled. When it comes to rainwater it is distributed throughout the plot. There are five seepage wells under the retention tank with the soil absorbing the water. As part of the investment we have also prepared a green patio with direct access from the canteen,” adds Piotr Miodek, Sales Director at Bremer.
Also noteworthy are the solutions used in the research and laboratory section of the building and a special track for testing car shock absorbers, which includes sections, such as uneven paving stones, rough concrete, and bumps.
“We have prepared a laboratory room with controlled temperature, and humidity. There is also a clean room, which is accessed by a special vestibule with sluices to the appropriate rooms. The laboratory also has cabinets for precise air conditioning, maintaining the required conditions in the room around the clock. Because we worked early on with the BWI Group, we were able to map all operational, technical, environmental and staffing requirements. We believe that the new facility meets all the challenges that our client has set for us,” concludes Bartłomiej Krawiecki.
The BWI Group has decided to implement the Dali system on its new premises with automatic light intensity adaptation and the BMS system for building management. The building will obtain a BREEAM Very Good certificate.