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26 Novem­ber 2018

A new stan­dard at the best loca­ti­on

Pont-Rouge in Lancy, Swiss Prime Site

Swiss Prime Site uses the sus­tainab­le con­struc­tion stan­dard SNBS as a key bench­mark in its sus­tainab­le deve­lop­ment pro­jects. This approach is also being pur­sued in the major pro­ject, Alto Pont-Rouge.

Sus­tainab­le buil­ding is one of the key aspi­ra­ti­ons of Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en. As a result, the com­pa­ny is focu­sing more stron­gly on the Swiss Sus­tainab­le Buil­ding Stan­dard (SNBS) when it comes to future con­struc­tion pro­jects. The com­mer­ci­al com­plex at Pont-Rouge in Lan­cy will mark the start of this. Report of the site visit to the future busi­ness district of Gene­va.

A sub­ur­ban train can enab­le a lot of move­ment. It brings peop­le to their work­places and back home again. It makes mobi­li­ty more envi­ron­ment­al­ly friend­ly and it enab­les a who­le city district to reinvent its­elf. This is exact­ly the case in Gene­va, name­ly in the sou­thern sec­tion of the city bet­ween Lan­cy, Carouge and Plain­pa­lais. Several par­ties are working at full speed here on the lar­ge-sca­le Praille Acaci­as Ver­nets (PAV) pro­ject that will estab­lish a modern living and working quar­ter across 230 hec­ta­res. This was form­er­ly the indu­stri­al district on the edge of Gene­va. As the city con­ti­nued expan­ding, the area crept clo­ser and clo­ser to the cent­re. But it was the poli­ti­cal deci­si­on to con­nect the district with its own sub­ur­ban rail­way line that defi­ni­tively tur­ned the regi­on into an attrac­tive loca­ti­on for buy­ers, ten­ants and inve­stors.

Jean Megow, Head Regi­on West at Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en is con­vin­ced that this will beco­me the future busi­ness district of Gene­va. We can­not see much evi­dence of this yet, howe­ver, as the 100000 marea all around us cur­r­ent­ly fea­tures most­ly one thing: con­struc­tion sites. «Pont-Rouge» is the area that forms the gate to PAV thanks to its pro­xi­mi­ty to the Lan­cy-Pont-Rouge rail­way sta­ti­on. In four years’ time, this area will pri­ma­ri­ly fea­ture buil­dings for offices and retail space. And Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en is right in the midd­le. «We are buil­ding on one-third of the area», exp­lains Jean Megow. The plan­ning pha­se has just been com­ple­ted. «We bought the land last year and will be sub­mit­ting the buil­ding app­li­ca­ti­on this Novem­ber. We can then begin the con­struc­tion in one year.» The office buil­ding will span 16 floors and be rea­dy for occupa­ti­on by 2022. It will beco­me one of the first pro­per­ties owned by Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en deve­lo­ped accord­ing to the Swiss Sus­tainab­le Buil­ding Stan­dard (SNBS).

«We bought the land last year and will be sub­mit­ting the buil­ding app­li­ca­ti­on this Novem­ber. We can then begin the con­struc­tion in one year.»

Pont-Rouge in Lancy, Swiss Prime Site

The SNBS is still a young con­struc­tion stan­dard that was published in 2013 and intro­du­ced a cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­cess in 2016. It’s spe­cial becau­se the cri­te­ria it inclu­des con­cen­tra­te not only on the eco­lo­gi­cal aspects of con­struc­tion, but also take the eco­no­mic and soci­al con­di­ti­ons of a buil­ding into con­si­de­ra­ti­on. Buil­dings must com­ply with a total of 45 indi­vi­du­al aspects accord­ing to the SNBS. The­se inclu­de ener­gy sup­ply, purcha­sing and ren­ting pri­ce, infra­st­ruc­tu­re and the inte­gra­ti­on of mee­ting points. Each cri­ter­ion is rated on a sca­le of one to six. The indi­ca­tor is ful­fil­led with a gra­ding of four or above, any score below that must be impro­ved. In addi­ti­on, the cri­te­ria are struc­tu­red accord­ing to con­struc­tion pha­ses. This means that spe­ci­fic indi­ca­tors must be con­si­de­red for each con­struc­tion pha­se to ensu­re con­ti­nuous adhe­rence. It begins as ear­ly as the acqui­si­ti­on. After all, loca­ti­on and infra­st­ruc­tu­re in accordance with SNBS are decisi­ve for the qua­li­ty of a pro­per­ty. «In this regard, the ‘Pont-Rouge’ pro­ject is per­fect», says Jean Megow. «A cen­tral loca­ti­on and the new Lan­cy rail­way sta­ti­on right on our door­step – it doesn’t get any bet­ter than that.»

That being said, it was still uncer­tain at the begin­ning of the pro­ject if the buil­ding could actual­ly be cer­ti­fied accord­ing to SNBS. «Our invest­ments com­pri­se one-third of the area», exp­lains Jean Megow. «As a result, we first had to cla­ri­fy if we could still seek the cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on even if all the buil­dings around us do not ful­fil the SNBS cri­te­ria. In addi­ti­on, we only want to plan and con­struct the basic deve­lop­ment – i.e. ever­ything that Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en can direct­ly influ­ence – accord­ing to SNBS. Ten­ant exten­si­ons remain out­si­de of our influ­ence. We first had to cla­ri­fy if this was even pos­si­ble. Howe­ver, we recei­ved a quick and posi­ti­ve respon­se to both questi­ons. So we’ve got the green light.»

Pont-Rouge in Lancy, Swiss Prime Site

«A cen­tral loca­ti­on and the new Lan­cy rail­way sta­ti­on right on our door­step – it doesn’t get any bet­ter than that.»

The coor­di­na­ti­on bet­ween pro­ject mana­gers and deve­lo­pers, archi­tects, buil­ders and SGS SA, which accom­pa­nies the cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­cess accord­ing to SNBS, lies in the hands of Jan Rüegg, pro­ject mana­ger for sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty at Win­ca­sa. He is the key con­tact for anything rela­ting to the sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on. He con­ver­ges all the threads. «My task is to gui­de the pro­cess to ensu­re qua­li­ty and keep an over­view», exp­lains Jan Rüegg. «I col­la­te all docu­ments, pre­pa­re them and sub­mit them to SGS. I am sup­por­ted in this by an engi­nee­ring firm that is expe­ri­en­ced with the cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on.» After all, such a pro­cess requi­res ple­n­ty of exper­ti­se on all sides. To this end, the archi­tects have also been trai­ned as SNBS spe­cia­lists. Jor­ge Guil­len is one of them. He con­si­ders the gui­de­li­nes to be an asset: «In con­trast to many other cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­gram­mes, the Swiss Sus­tainab­le Buil­ding Stan­dards are very prac­ti­cal­ly ori­en­ted. The­re is no need to wri­te a sci­en­ti­fic paper to pro­vi­de evi­dence for a spe­ci­fic cri­ter­ion. In addi­ti­on, the col­la­bo­ra­ti­on with Win­ca­sa could not have gone any bet­ter. For examp­le, I make sug­ge­sti­ons for sus­tainab­le con­struc­tion mate­ri­als that are then checked accord­ing to SNBS spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons. Or Jan comes to me with ide­as that I can then explo­re for fea­si­bi­li­ty.» The deve­lo­per, pro­ject mana­ger and archi­tect can all agree that this is an exchan­ge that bene­fits the con­struc­tion and the pro­ject.

The coor­di­na­ti­on bet­ween pro­ject mana­gers and deve­lo­pers, archi­tects, buil­ders and SGS SA, which accom­pa­nies the cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­cess accord­ing to SNBS, lies in the hands of Jan Rüegg, pro­ject mana­ger for sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty at Win­ca­sa (right).

But why spe­ci­fi­cal­ly SNBS? The­re are other estab­lished sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons such as Miner­gie or LEED. «First­ly, SNBS is a Swiss cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on that is based on Swiss law», exp­lains Jan Rüegg. «In addi­ti­on, other cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons con­cen­tra­te sole­ly on ener­gy con­sump­ti­on and the buil­ding enve­lo­pe. Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en wan­ted a holi­stic approach and thus deci­ded to go with SNBS.» Jean Megow nods and adds: «The who­le area is alrea­dy Miner­gie cer­ti­fied. We’re now adding ano­t­her com­pre­hen­si­ve cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on.»

Achie­ve more than others. This aspi­ra­ti­on is cha­rac­te­ri­stic of Swiss Prime Site Immo­bi­li­en. And which city could pos­si­b­ly be bet­ter for making a state­ment about world­wi­de cli­ma­te poli­cy than Gene­va, the European head­quar­ters of the United Nati­ons? A state­ment that is 16 storeys high and SNBS cer­ti­fied.