It's a relatively new thing. Modern office, industrial and retail buildings in the Czech Republic have been able to strive for so-called environmental certifications for almost a decade to evaluate their impact on the environment (they can be very similar to energy labels of family houses).

There are several types of certificates: Most often they are international green (LEED and BREEAM) or domestic variants (SB Tool). You will increasingly be likely to hear about WELL certification, which assesses the quality of the indoor environment in relation to its users. In spring, the Visionary office building in Prague was the first in the Czech Republic (see photo below).

Certification is a long and complex process, at the end of which the building scores a score, which is presented with a “scoreboard” at Silver, Gold or Best Platinum.

If a developer decides to certify their building, they must have been thinking about it since the first architectural studies, because some elements are hard to catch up with during construction. For example, using daylight is one of the factors considered. It is much easier to rotate the 3D model of construction on a computer than a real reinforced concrete structure on a plot…

Do you work in a certified building? How do you know this in common practice?

Rainwater flushing

You come to the toilet and the bowl is yellowish water. Someone hurried and forgot to flush, you say with a sigh. Stretch your hand to the flush and the sign above will warn you that in this so-called green building, rainwater or so-called purified gray water is used for flushing.

Photo: Markéta Miková

Neither cold nor hot

Everyone has a different thermoregulation and someone is still warm, another still cold. The air is quickly exhaled in enclosed rooms, and it is still dry, so you want to stay asleep at best. In worse, you get a viral disease from work.

Office projects today have advanced automated cooling, heating and air conditioning systems, which in addition to certified buildings work with world-class orientation and outdoor shading to avoid overheating.  

Lower energy bills and water

A parameter that you don't know as a regular employee (unless there's more money left for bonuses?). If you are in a certified building, you will pay less for electricity and water consumption, and the environmental certification is a big issue. It is planned to install energy-saving LED lighting, economical water fittings or geothermal pumps.

You can not only relax on the roof of the Visionary office building, but also enjoy a marathon. Photo: Lukáš Rozmajzl

Relax on the roof or in the atrium 

Scoring can be improved by adjusting the building's surroundings so that future tenants and people in the neighborhood can sit and relax. It is not just the benches themselves, but the overall concept of the interior and exterior, and the well-kept pleasant greenery. Beware, watering it again with a rainy day! Relaxing roof terraces are now increasingly open to tenants. (We'll talk more about them at #MORETHANOFFICE in the summer.)

Not only by car

The closer the office building stops by public transport (ideally on the metro in Prague), the better. Employees do not have to go to work by car, but they can use public transport, bicycle or electric car. This will benefit not only the environment but also their health. Cycle stands and showers are often available in certified buildings, and charging stations for electric vehicles are available in some buildings.