The FINANCIAL -- Lisi Development is the first and only development company in Georgia to have rejected traditional approach to site usage in favour of a more environmentally-friendly option. The sustainable concept of its project is called “ 80/20”, which entails 80% of the territory being a designated green and recreational zone. The company decided to “build the environment” and meet the needs of the present without compromising on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The once-arid Lisi territory has been transformed into a green zone, where people recycle, cut down on carbon emissions and participate in sports competitions.
“Lisi Development is based on sustainable management. It is well demonstrated in our main concept which we call 80/20. We do our best to maintain the green zone of our project which makes up 80% of the entire territory. We are keeping the natural landscape and making it greener by planting of trees, bushes and flowers. All of these are small details that combine to make a green zone. It is crucial that the 20% of our territory which is designated building space, does not conflict with the dominant green zone. The quality of the buildings, including the construction materials and architecture as a whole, stands in line with our green concept. The company does not compromise its resources on developing a green area together with environmentally-friendly residential buildings,” Nodar Adeishvili, Director General at Lisi Development, told The FINANCIAL.
According to Adeishvili, any non-efficient use of energy increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which in turn accelerates the greenhouse effect. “For that reason our eco-friendly construction uses materials and technology which help optimize the energy efficiency of homes and reduce their harmful effect on the environment at the same time. By choosing an eco-friendly construction, consumers are not only reducing their utility bills in the long run but they are also helping to reduce the harmful effects of human actions on the environment,” he said.
In the first phase of the project, called Lisi Veranda, more than 200 trees were planted. They were selected according to the type of climate and soil. Evergreen cypress, Italian pine, Himalayan cedar, privet, photinia and many other types of plants are present in the park. More than 500 trees were planted in the surroundings of the Lake. “The whole infrastructure of Lisi Lake is created in a way to maximize the promotion of healthy living. Playgrounds, bikes and boats are offered to customers on site,” said Adeishvili.
Lisi Development has taken another step in the direction of environment protection and the development of its green concept. The company implemented waste recycling together with the residents of Lisi Veranda housing complex. In cooperation with its partner, Coop Georgia, Lisi Development recycles waste, and the rubbish can be used for secondary purposes.
Lisi Development sponsors and supports various sports events held on Lisi Lake on a regular basis, for example: the Ministry of Defence Charity Marathon that was held in August 2014; the Marathon Swim Tbilisi 2014 that took place in September 2014; as well as the yearly mini football championship - Lisi Cup.
Q. There are many construction companies claiming to offer eco-friendly buildings. How can consumers really tell whether they are telling the truth?
A. Unfortunately there is no certification system of green buildings in Georgia. There are some works being done in this direction and hopefully it will soon be implemented in Georgia. So, when a company states that a building is green, it will be obliged to prove it by providing an official certificate. Currently it is mostly allowed based on the construction materials which make buildings more energy efficient, rather than in the case of using standard construction materials that are still widely used in Georgia. There are various construction materials, facing, indoor isolation and effective windows - all these combine to create the concept of an energy-efficient building. If a company says that they are constructing energy efficient housing, consumers can simply ask to be told the exact building materials used by them. It is also important to know which parameters will be met by the company in order to create an energy efficient building.
Every environmentally-friendly building technique typically follows four basic principles - eco construction, eco design, eco maintenance and eco renovation, with an aim to reduce the building’s influence on the environment as much as possible.
Q. Eco-friendliness has become the primary concern of Lisi Development. What will be the impact of your company on the surrounding district and the city as a whole?
A. While developing the green zone we are not limiting ourselves to one area alone. The company is developing the same policy in the surrounding territories of Lisi. Lots of citizens visit the recreational zone near Lisi Lake every day. They can see from season to season how many innovations we are offering, in terms of greening the area and maximum ecological protection. I do hope that other development companies will follow our lead. I realise that companies developing construction in the centre of the city will find it difficult to develop green zones on a large scale. However, there are many ways to meet environment protection activities.
To create a more diversified green area we have changed our approach when developing the second phase of our project. During the first phase we had one team that had been working on landscape design. However, currently we have decided to increase this number in order to receive more diversified designs of our green space. Accordingly, we divided the new phase into ten zones. They were distributed to 12 groups. All of them are involved in landscape design. They will provide their models. We will then reveal the best models and the new zone will be managed by them. The most significant difference of our second phase will be diversification of the green zone which will be designed by a wide range of teams.
Q. Sustainable land use is not a usual approach on Georgian market. Even more it can be considered as a concession from your side. What are the advantages of sustainable site usage?
A. The residents of Lisi Development that are already living here can speak better than anyone else of the outstanding advantages of our company. They have already experienced the benefits of living in this environment. We are in constant contact with our residents and they always express a sense of satisfaction with the environment in which they reside. Opening a window, breathing fresh air and being able to feel calm is almost impossible in the centre of the city. The expectations of all the people that are choosing this concept and changing their lifestyle will be met from when they start residing here. The biggest achievement is that the advantages of Lisi Development are promoted by its residents. The company’s team is no longer alone in explaining why one should choose Lisi.
Q. The company started its construction on totally barren territory. How hard was it to create a green zone out of such an area?
A. A good example of a classic developer is to master untapped territories. Lisi Development is a classic example of this. The company decided to master a part of the city which was totally undeveloped. We are carrying out communication and developing each part of the territory. It can be simply seen by comparing the area before we started its development, to after. The main difference between Lisi Development and other companies is that we are spending lots of time on creating the whole eco system, in line with European standards, ourselves. We established our partner organization Lisi Greens. Within this company we are trying to not only green our territory, but also distribute it to a broader market. Everyone can go to Lisi Greens, on the territory of Lisi Lake, and purchase an Italian plant. Over 700 trees have been planted in the Lisi area for now. As for the extent of the green, it covers hectares. It is very important that the green covering is maintained in winter as well. The selfless work of our gardeners is contributing to this. We are proud to have a team that manages it for the comfort of our customers and the city as well. Lisi is a distinguished green place of Tbilisi.
Q. Awareness of environment protection among Georgians still remains low. Please tell us from the example of your employees, how the attitude towards ecology is changing from year to year?
A. The whole team of Lisi Development is actively involved in its green activities. We have placed recycling bins for waste separation inside the office. It is important that the main initiator of recycling has been our Financial Director. In addition, if a tree or some plant has some kind of damage then it becomes an issue of serious discussion, in which the whole team is involved. We all live with this territory and consider it our home. The whole environment is so clean that even guests that are visiting our residents would never consider dropping a cigarette butt.