Green Žali is a shopping centre blueprint

Nov 16, 2018

Žali shopping centre in the northeast of Vilnius is the first shopping centre in Lithuania to have been awarded the one of the highest Breeam performance rating. The shopping centre is home to an IKI supermarket and 15 other businesses. The name Žali, which means green, tells a lot about the project.

“This shopping centre shows our competence in sustainable construction,” says architect Marius Mateika at Baltisches Haus real estate developers.

Unlike most property developers who sell their properties shortly after completion, Baltisches Haus both built Žali and lets the facilities.

“This greatly affects our choice of materials and solutions. We consider costs throughout a building’s lifecycle. This is also to our customers’ advantage since, for example, energy efficiency means they don’t overpay for heating,” explains Marius Mateika.

Building costs account for a sixth of the total costs over a building’s lifetime. The remaining costs arise from use of the building in the form of heating and maintenance for example.

Location sets the bar high

The shopping centre is located in the district of Balsiai, some 20 kilometres from the centre of Vilnius. Many active citizens have settled in this predominantly single-family home district, with many moving out of the city centre to a more rural environment. Both the social awareness of local residents and the location of the shopping centre next to a nature park meant the bar was set high.

“We took part in monthly local residents meeting and discussed their wishes with regard to Žali. Collaboration began even before any construction work or plans had been made. This enabled us to reach a joint understanding and all kinds of resistance decreased,” says Marius Mateika.

Architect Marius Mateika says that they want to be a beacon, pioneers in the construction industry. The Žali project taught them a lot and they will draw on what they have learnt in later projects. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

Architect Marius Mateika says that they want to be a beacon, pioneers in the construction industry. The Žali project taught them a lot and they will draw on what they have learnt in later projects. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

Panels lead to a good environment and savings

The building has one of the highest Breeam environmental rating. This was achieved among other things by using Ruukki energy panels.

“The greatest advantage is that the panels deliver savings in heating and cooling costs. Not only that, they also insulate noise. The machine room in the building generates noise and the sound insulation brought about using Ruukki’s panels prevents noise from carrying into the neighbourhood,” adds Marius Mateika.

There are also other green solutions in the building. The Žali shopping centre uses ground-source heat and the green roof acts as an insulator, insulating from the summer heat and winter cold, and filtering the rainwater. Load-bearing roofing sheets made by Ruukki have been used in the roof.

The materials were optimised in the design and construction of Žali, in other words pursuit of the best possible solution for the entire lifecycle of the building. Optimisation resulted in, among other things, a green roof rather than solar panels because a green roof provided more advantages.

In winter, the green roof insulates the heat inside the building and in summer prevents the sun’s rays from heating the roof and building. This reduces the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

In winter, the green roof insulates the heat inside the building and in summer prevents the sun’s rays from heating the roof and building. This reduces the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

Smart efficiency using sensors and BIM

Žali has been built using the whole lifecycle approach. To give the building feeling, it’s been fitted with sensor technology. Sensors monitor the heating, water consumption, lighting, electricity consumption and even sewerage. The data these sensors produce is used in property maintenance, for example.

Technology has been used throughout the design and construction process, and the entire building has been modelled. Building Information Management (BIM) has been used in the design of the structures, architecture, heating, electricity distribution and data communications. Even the impact of sunlight on the building in different seasons and at different times of the day has been modelled.

“The entire building, all its parts, has been stored and the entire building can also be scanned. This means that if a caretaker scans, takes a picture of a fluorescent light, he will be sent information about the brand and the model. This delivers savings and speeds up maintenance since there’s no need to examine the product separately and then make another trip to replace the light,” explains Marius Mateika.

Compensating the environment

Žali has been considerate to residents and animals in the district. Not only has the shopping centre prevented noise pollution from spreading, the real estate developer has also built traffic roundabouts, cycle paths and will camouflage a fairly long wall with creepers to make it easier on the neighbours’ eyes. The surrounding natural environment has been taken into account by, for example, building insect hotels, bird boxes and nesting places for bats. Biologists report that there are more than 50 species of plant and animal living in the district. The eco investments made are, in a way, compensation for the space removed and brought into use.

In time, the south-facing wall will be covered by creepers and so the neighbours won’t need to stare at a long bare wall. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

In time, the south-facing wall will be covered by creepers and so the neighbours won’t need to stare at a long bare wall. Since the leaves will cover the wall, the plants will protect the south-facing wall from heating and warming the building in summer. In the winter, when there are no leaves, the sun will be allowed to warm the wall. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

Confidence tips the scales

There were a number of reasons why Ruukki’s products were chosen for the walls and roof. The most compelling were the price-quality ratio of the panels and their good thermal insulation. Ruukki’s roofing was chosen because a sufficiently strong roof is required to support the vegetation. As well as this, Ruukki’s products were chosen because production is certified and the products helped to achieve the required points for Breeam classification.

“We have every confidence in Ruukki. It is a robust company, has good service and it makes our work much easier. The product data is in order and Ruukki is easier to work with. As an architect, I also appreciate a broad product portfolio and rich choice of colours,” enthuses Marius Mateika.

The animal world has also been taken into account in the Žali shopping centre district. Baltisches Haus has installed bird boxes on the shopping centre wall, thereby giving Ruukki panels a new spin-off product. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

The animal world has also been taken into account in the Žali shopping centre district. Baltisches Haus has installed bird boxes on the shopping centre wall, thereby giving Ruukki panels a new spin-off product. ©Photo: Baltisches Haus

Žali points the way ahead

Marius Mateika notes that energy-efficient construction is on the rise in Lithuania and is becoming a strong trend and is strongly being pushed by international companies investing in the country.

Žali has taught Baltisches Haus a lot. Something new has been built and construction has been approached from a new angle, not least the local residents’ angle. Marius Mateika says that this project has been a learning curve and that now the company knows what to do in the following project and what can be omitted. But couldn’t the shopping centre be built more simply now? Both Marius Mateika and Baltisches Haus have set the bar higher than normal.  

“We want to be a future-oriented real estate developer and a beacon in the industry.”

 

Ruukki’s delivery:
Ruukki energy panels: 1,300 m2
Load-bearing roofing sheets: 4,700m2

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