News Article decarbonization ESG Ghelamco office photovoltaic Poland solar power Warsaw
by Property Forum | Office

Ultimately, more than 10 MW of green energy from photovoltaic farms will power Warsaw UNIT, an office building developed and owned by Ghelamco. It is the first skyscraper in Poland entirely powered by green energy. Funding for the innovative remote farm project was provided by ESCOlight, and the contractor is Revolt Energy, part of the Blachotrapez Group.

The use of clean energy at Warsaw UNIT will reduce more than 50 percent of CO2 emissions in the building’s global lifecycle and 70 percent of utility consumption.

“For us, it is important to pursue sustainable development goals, and this project definitely fits into Ghelamco’s strategy of achieving energy neutrality. In earlier years, we bought green, certified energy, so our own solar farms represent a bold step forward toward zero-emissions”, says Jarosław Zagórski, Managing Director, Ghelamco Poland.

Remote photovoltaic farms are solar power plants located at a considerable distance from the building. Unlike traditional installations mounted on the roof or ground of a property (known as on-site), such farms are built in locations where conditions are optimal for producing energy from the sun. The energy they generate is settled by a licensed Balance Responsible Party (BRP).

“Thanks to the decarbonization service in a remote model, entrepreneurs can also reap the benefits of renewable energy even if they don’t have enough space or the right conditions to install photovoltaic panels on their own property”, explains Bartosz Radkowiak of ESCOlight. “As the example of Warsaw UNIT shows, energy transformation also does not have to involve a required contribution. ESCOlight offers a budget-neutral solution for the customer – from full financing and comprehensive project implementation to operation and maintenance of the farms. As a result, it becomes a producer of green energy with no capital expenditure, and when subscription expires, the photovoltaic farms become its sole property and continue to generate profits”, he adds.

The development includes as many as 11 solar farms that will serve Ghelamco projects. The first was commissioned in November 2023, and any week now energy production will start on two more. They were deployed in several regions of Poland – in the Opolskie, Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie provinces. The first Ghelamco building to use this solution is the Warsaw UNIT skyscraper. “We are not stopping there and are committed to further developing our renewable energy infrastructure”, assures Jarosław Zagórski.

With 46 storeys and 202 meters high, Warsaw UNIT is one of the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced skyscrapers in Europe. The building was the first in the country to receive WELL Core certification with the Platinum rating and the first high-rise building to earn BREEAM with the highest possible Outstanding rating. Its sustainability is also confirmed by certification in the WELL Health-Safety Rating, Green Standard Building and “Barrier-Free Facility” systems.

The energy-efficient and low-carbon character of Warsaw UNIT is ensured daily by more than 40,000 sensors and 800 meters as part of a state-of-the-art BEMS system. Thanks to this and a number of other solutions, energy consumption in Warsaw UNIT is nearly 30% lower than in comparable high-rise buildings. Warsaw UNIT will also be the first skyscraper in Poland to be powered in 100 percent by clean energy with own photovoltaic farms.