River-Cooled Kauno Dokas and Nearly-Zero-Energy VERDE Buildings Set New Standards of Sustainability in Baltic Real Estate
Kaunas Dock in Kaunas, Lithuania
River-cooled and solar energy-powered “Kauno Dokas” in Lithuania, and nearly zero energy (nZEB), cutting-edge design “VERDE” in Latvia represent contemporary examples of how sustainable engineering solutions can redefine modern workspaces. Both projects were developed by “Capitalica Asset Management,” which is now eyeing expansion beyond Lithuania and Latvia.
October, 2023. Global climate change, disruptive technologies, big data, and shifting human behavior are shaping the future of our cities. Green building trends for the coming years include an increased focus on sustainability: net-zero energy buildings and zero-waste principles in architecture are the future.
“Kauno Dokas” in Kaunas, Lithuania, is the first building in the country to be cooled by the nearby River Neris’ water (free cooling) and powered by solar energy produced in the building. Meanwhile, “VERDE” in Riga, Latvia, is an example of cutting-edge sustainable design with integrated green terraces, beehives, exceptional air quality, and natural daylight, all of which enhance the well-being and productivity of its tenants.
“In our company’s vision, we prioritize the future of our cities. When developing real estate projects, we invest in the latest green technology and sustainable architectural solutions to create long-term value for our investors, tenants, and society. We stand for no greenwashing; it guides our business strategy. In 2018, Capitalica Asset Management embraced green technologies, securing a historic green loan from SEB Bank – the first in the Baltic countries,” stated Andrius Barštys, Chairman of the Board at Capitalica Asset Management.
“Kauno Dokas”: Lithuania’s Leading Green Business Center
“Kauno Dokas”, a Class-A business center in Lithuania, is powered by solar and water energy, marking a pioneering engineering achievement in the country. By implementing a unique free cooling method, it uses water from the Neris River. The building also ensures optimal air quality, natural daylight, and microclimate control with separate ventilation systems, internal blinds, and opening windows. It promotes eco-consciousness and tenant well-being, integrating innovative AI solutions for energy efficiency.
Digital Operator, a product implemented by the Estonian company “R8,” is the most advanced green energy demand management solution developed for commercial real estate. It identifies and recognizes interactions initiated by staff and tenants, continuously learns from the dynamics of the building, and adapts to their changing needs.
While solar panels are not a novelty in contemporary buildings, “Kauno Dokas” combines them with energy-saving elements like free-cooling water energy and the Digital Operator. This integration enhances the building’s green approach and optimizes energy consumption.
In July of this year alone, “Kauno Dokas” produced 10% of the building’s total electricity with solar panels. According to Bionic data, most businesses consume between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of energy per year, so the electricity produced at the “Dock’s” solar power plant accounts for almost half of this total amount. In the near future, the solar panels installed in the complex will produce 100,000 kWh/year.
Architecturally, “Kauno Dokas” is distinguished by its use of natural materials and colors on the exterior, harmonizing with the waves of the neighboring Neris River. Glass constructions create an inviting sense of lightness both inside and out.
According to the architect Gustė Kančaitė, “Kauno Dokas” looks like it is levitating in the air or standing on legs through which Neris River is clearly visible. It is characterized by lightness, rhythmicity, and dynamic division as if the waves of the river. Such a decision came from the green idea of modern architecture.”
“VERDE” Building: A Productivity-Boosting Green Oasis
“VERDE,” a Class-A office building located in Riga’s fast-developing Skanste district, incorporates innovative features that have been scientifically proven to boost productivity.
“VERDE,” designed by award-winning architects “Archis Arhitekti” in collaboration with “Around” architects’ office and “Zala Landscape Architects,” embodies the need for stability in the ever-shifting world. This is reflected in the dynamic structure of the building with a round base standing on asymmetrical columns.
Spanning two buildings, 11 floors, and 30,000 square meters of leasable space, “VERDE” stands as a green oasis in Riga’s heart. It features relaxing terraces, meadow-inspired greenery, state-of-the-art air ventilation systems, intelligent lighting, smart layouts, and various amenities – all aimed at enhancing well-being and productivity. Harvard research confirms these benefits, including reduced sickness-related absences.
“VERDE” is also a nearly zero energy building (nZEB) that ensures energy efficiency and sustainability. Its strategic location ensures accessibility to key destinations in Riga, including the airport, central railway station, shopping areas, parks, cultural venues, and sports facilities.
“VERDE” building’s A complex was commissioned on July 29, 2022, and is well-positioned to serve the growing Skanste district, which is predicted to become Riga’s new central business district, with a projected 42,713 residents by 2030. B complex is being developed and will open its doors in the spring of 2024.
ABOUT CAPITALICA ASSET MANAGEMENT
“Capitalica Asset Management (www.capitalica.lt) is an investment management company that manages investment funds investing in commercial real estate in the Baltic States and the East-Central Europe region. Utilizing its expertise in capital markets, real estate, and investment funds, the company provides private and institutional investors with stable returns. CAM funds are licensed and supervised by the Bank of Lithuania and its bonds are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “Capitalica Asset Management is majority-owned (70%) by SBA Group, one of the largest Lithuanian business groups, and another 30% by Fox Holdings, a company owned by A. Baršys (Chairman of the Board of Capitalica Asset Management).