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Skanska is currently developing its greenest office building to date at the historic Väla Gård site outside Helsingborg. Skanska has owned Väla Gård since the end of the 1960s and has long planned to develop offices on the site.
Originally, Väla Gård was a beautiful listed granite building dating back to the 1800s. In combination with the newly constructed office buildings, the area is now being transformed into Helsingborg’s greenest office environment.
The project is divided into a number of phases. The first phase, comprising 1,800 square meters, was completed in October 2012. Since we are extremely proud of Väla Gård, we have relocated our various Helsingborg-based units under one roof at Väla Gård.
The office buildings, which were designed by Tengbom Arkitekter, are reminiscent of contemporary versions of traditional farmhouses in Skåne with a gable roof. The aim was to blend the offices sympathetically into the historical environment. In total, we plan to build 7,000 square meters of office space with the hope, in the future, of renovating the ancient stone barn and converting it into offices incorporating exciting dynamics between old and new.
Väla Gård is Skanska’s largest green project to date and the aim is for the office building to be a zero-energy or energy-plus building. In other words, measured over one year, the building should produce at least as much energy as it consumes for heating, cooling and building utilities.
The environment has been at the core of every decision – from project planning to moving in. We have utilized energy-smart materials, recycled all leftover material, built with a high level of insulation and equipped the properties with solar cells and ground-source heating. As a consequence of our green initiatives the building will be certified under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) at the highest level, LEED Platinum.
Johan LarssonSkanska Sweden+46 10 44 93 650
Mejl Johan Larsson
Verksamhetsgren: Construction, Commercial development
Väla Gård is certified to the international environmental certification system LEED’s highest level, Platinum. The project received the highest LEED score in Europe and the third highest score in the world (March 2013). This means that the office building is assessed from the viewpoint of a number of key areas with regard to the environmental impact of the property, including energy use, water consumption and the location of the buildings.
We have constructed the offices in the greenest manner imaginable. The property has a well-insulated climate shell and all windows are of passive house standard. In addition, we have located solar cells on the roof, which will generate electricity for the building. During the summer, surplus electricity from the solar cells will be delivered to the energy grid to be bought back later in the winter. We plan to purchase shares in wind power to compensate for the electricity used by our business operations.
The property also has its own ground-source heating system that keeps down energy use and reduces carbon emissions. The system will be able to meet the heating and cooling needs of 7,000 square meters.
During the construction process, we have been extremely careful regarding the material we have utilized. We have tried to use as much recycled material as possible and locally produced products have been prioritized. In addition, no material has been disposed of at waste dumps.
The results of a number of major investigations show that companies that have moved into LEED certified premises have noticed a reduction in sick leave rates and increased productivity among their employees. The right lighting, air and temperature can reduce sick leave by up to 39 percent and increase productivity by between 3 and 10 percent.
These are positive results that we believe in and, accordingly, we have created premises that promote the well-being and health of the personnel. Väla Gård has excellent air quality, temperature, ventilation and natural daylight. Being green should be easy; therefore, we have built a bus stop and are also planning to start an electric car pool for the employees.
Skanska has owned Väla Gård since the end of the 1960s and has long planned to develop offices on the site. In 2011, we announced an architectural competition aimed at creating an office that would meet our requirements for climate-smart solutions, while creating an attractive property that would melt into the historic farm environment. The winning design was produced by Patrik Ekenhill at Tengbom Michelsen.
In October 2011, we broke ground for the office building at Väla Gård. Right from the outset, our focus was on environmentally-smart and sustainable solutions. Since the worksite is adjacent to a nature reserve, we had to take particular care to protect the special environment surrounding us.
The first phase of Väla Gård comprises 1,800 square meters and consists of two almost identical main buildings connected by a glazed entrance building. We located the reception in the glazed structure, which provides visitors with bright and welcoming reception. The floor was finished with a polished concrete floor and one wall was transformed into a green wall of living plants.
The two main buildings were equipped with gables of oak-patterned perforated sheet metal. The underlying reasons were both architectural and practical as the pattern allows daylight to flow in. We have also invested considerable focus on the working environment; we want to promote a healthy environment for occupants at Väla Gård. Therefore, we have been extremely particular about ensuring that natural daylight penetrates deep into the premises. We have also carefully checked the air quality and ventilation to ensure the optimal indoor climate.
The entire construction process has revolved around the environment and sustainability. Initiatives include a ground-source heating and cooling system that, when the area is completed, will be able to provide 7,000 square meters with heating and cooling. In addition, the property has a well-insulated climate shell and all of the windows are of passive house standard.
Throughout the project, we have been meticulous with our choice of materials. All purchases have been checked to ensure that we always select material that does not emit any poisonous substances.
It takes about seven minutes by bus or car to travel to or from Väla Gård from the center of Helsingborg. To make travelling even easier for visitors and employees working in the area, we have built a new bus stop by the site. It is located on Kanongatan adjacent to the parking lots.
Following the completion of phase one, we will be able to build several similar buildings. We even hope to be able to refurbish the existing stone barn for use as offices in the future.