Photo: Link Arkitektur

Lidl certified as the world's first Zero CO₂ grocery store


Lidl’s store on Gotland has been certified as the world’s first completely climate-neutral grocery store under the new NollC02 (Zero CO2) scheme. Lidl engaged COWI to help it to meet the demanding requirements for certification.

The new branch on Gotland was the pilot store for the new NollCO2 certification scheme. The scheme has been developed as an important step in enabling Sweden to reach its climate goals and is one of the toughest in the world.

The certificate, which is awarded by the Sweden Green Building Council, requires the building to be climate-neutral from start to finish – it must have net zero CO2 emissions throughout the construction process and when the store is in operation.

This means that the accumulated carbon dioxide debt is offset by various environmental measures such as locally produced renewable energy.

“It’s not long since climate-neutral grocery stores were seen as a remote future vision and some sort of experimental research project. The certificate is proof that it is actually possible today, and we have now reached a very important milestone. Lidl is a pioneer in sustainable building, and our hope is that this will prompt more people to build in a sustainable way and increase the demand for climate-neutral materials,” says Johan Augustsson, head of Lidl Sweden.

“Lidl in Visby is a project with incredibly high environmental ambitions, which is apparent in all lifecycles of the building. The store is certified under BREEAM and NollCO2, and this combination ensures that the project systematically reflects these ambitions. COWI project-managed both of the certification processes and will lead the continuing work required in the production phase,” explains André Persson, environmental consultant and project manager for the NollCO2 certification at COWI.

Payment plan for CO₂ emissions

In connection with the launch of the first trial version of the NollCO2 certification, COWI examined ways for a Lidl store to meet the stringent requirements and produced a roadmap for the project. At the project design stage, COWI headed the certification work and ensured that the targets could be met by drawing up a climate budget and producing a payment plan for any CO₂ emissions that arise. 

“What is unique and challenging about the project is that we are driven by a carbon dioxide budget which affects everything from the choice of construction methods to the engagement of contractors. We had to navigate the project under new conditions, which was incredibly instructive. In the future, I am quite convinced that CO2 budgets and carbon footprints will be just as key to building projects as today’s energy performance and primary energy figures,” says Persson.

COWI has also provided the project with a BREEAM assessor and BREEAM AP, and the building will achieve the second-highest level, Excellent, under BREEAM 2017. COWI has supported Lidl with BREEAM expertise since they embarked on efforts to certify their new stores. Lidl have since then been certified for three buildings at the highest BREEAM level of Outstanding, with three more rated Excellent.

The new store is scheduled for completion in July 2020.

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