BWI Group moves into a passive building by 7R

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 operate in Balice near Krakow, where advanced technologies will be developed to increase the functionality of shock absorbers.

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The developer, 7R, has prepared an energy self-sufficient facility for the company, with the use of an advanced trigeneration system. The general contractor for the investment was Bremer.

BWI Group's new headquarters in Kraków provides more than 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.

“When choosing the location for our new headquarters, we were guided by the idea that the location has to be the showcase for our company. The priority was to find a place in a prestigious area, which was in easy reach of the city, and preferably as close to the airport as possible. We are part of the automotive sector, which also imposes on us responsibility for the environment”, says Krzysztof Kucharczak, Director of BWI Group Technical Centre.

Groundbreaking trigeneration

The high-tech trigeneration system makes the gas turbine generate the energy needed to power, heat, cool and ventilate the building. When it comes to supplying utilities to the BWI Group centre in Balice, only gas is supplied from the outside.

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 gases is recuperated in two ways: to heat water for the facility and to heat the building. In addition, in the summer, when the heat produced is not fully utilised, the heated water is directed to an absorption unit where its energy is then used to produce cold water.

“We are talking about the exceptional innovation of the trigeneration system in the BWI Group facility, because it was the first time that we applied it in a commercial office and laboratory building in Poland. Until now, such solutions have been implemented in waste incineration plants or large industrial plants. In the facility, we have used a high-quality automation system, and any excess power will be fed back into the local power grid”, says Bartłomiej Krawiecki, Member of the Management Board at 7R.

Own water intake

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 company’s premises.

“We have built a water treatment plant from a drilled well. 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 entrance from the canteen”, adds Piotr Miodek, Sales Director at Bremer.

The facility will obtain a BREEAM Very Good certificate.