Jelena Jolovic: With NPM to LEED Gold certification for the new Schneider Electric Hub building

“Office premises in Serbia are leaders in raising sustainability standards, as the initiatives come from the headquarters of multinational companies aware of the sustainability importance that have the budgets to invest in the sustainability of the building and certification”, said Novaston platform project manager Jelena Jolović at the BuildUp 2022 conference while presenting Novaston as a partner in developing of sustainable projects.

Reflecting on the challenges in architecture during the construction industry’s turbulent times, Jelena Jolović presented the reconstruction project of the former Novkabel factory hall in the industrial zone of Novi Sad. Novaston Project Management (NPM), as part of the Novaston platform, has been involved in this project from the very beginning. With the partners in this project, they were engaged in the implementation of design process, green certification and coordination of the construction process, following the guidelines of the future tenant.

“The building occupies an area of ​​approx. 11,000sqm, and upon completion, it will have approximately 16,500 m2 of gross area. The reconstruction concept was developed from the basic requirements of the future tenant and is based on sustainable principles: integration with greenery and natural light, workspace set up in accordance with corporate policy, and certification of the facility with a minimum LEED Gold certificate. Architects from the Zabriskie studio have very successfully implemented the idea of integrating natural light and greenery into the workspace as much as possible by opening the simple base of the building with proper internal gardens – as many as 4 atriums. Along the facade itself, a green zone has been placed alongside workspaces for employees. The green area is about 12,000sqm, of about 35,000 sqm total. The principles of Town Planning and Activity Base Workspace were applied, meaning that employees do not have fixed workplaces”, explained Jelena Jolović.

According to her, the building is in the process of obtaining the LEED Gold certificate. Together with partners from the company TGBG, Novaston provided design guidelines and started the certification process after the concept was set up. When the facility is officially operational, the systems will be tested and the collected documentation checked before the certificate is issued. The initiator of the certification was the tenant of the space – the company Schneider Electric, and it was challenging for Novaston to achieve such a high level of certification through the reconstruction process.

“What is particularly interesting about this project is that the investment is not a greenfield, but reconstruction and revitalization. LEED mandates that proper materials are installed. So, we had the opportunity to recycle the dismantled material from the construction site, such as concrete that was crushed and reused for the layers under the floor slab. Unfortunately, there are no local recycling facilities that could help us reuse all the dismantled material. Social sustainability is an important aspect of business, but also of sustainable construction. The building is maximally adapted to employees and has an improved three-layer glass facade, reinforced roof covering, and most importantly – solar energy produced on the facility by roof solar panels.”

Although it is more profitable for the investor to certify the building while the project is still on paper, then select targeted loans and formulate a budget, Novaston also has clients who decided to subsequently certify buildings that are already in use. We successfully achieved this by applying and adding new solutions and by creating extensive documentation. This way we successfully became a part of projects that change awareness and set new standards in the field of sustainability, concluded Jelena Jolović.