Lidl,Vaxjo, Sweden

Leading with way with BREEAM

Lidl has set high goals. The company aims to be Sweden’s leading sustainable retail chain. An important step on that journey is BREEAM certification of the new store in Växjö, the frontrunner of many upcoming Lidl stores aiming for certification.

BREEAM certification not only enables Lidl to develop its organisation and learn new skills, but also to lead the way in the realm of sustainability and to be a positive example for other retailers in Sweden, as the Lidl Växjö store is the first retail building in Sweden to achieve the level of Outstanding at the interim stage.

Certification is also an important factor when it comes to transforming the image of Lidl from a low-price chain by highlighting its high sustainability aims and achievements. The long-term goal is to attract future employees, to whom sustainability and corporate responsibility are increasingly important factors, as well as to attract the conscious consumers of today and the future. When initiating the development of a new concept store, Lidl decided it should be a sustainable, cutting-edge project. Furthermore, it should be relevant for the whole of Sweden, not only metropolitan areas. Since the building will serve as a template for the new generation of Lidl stores, it was important to work systematically with sustainability issues. Third-party certification would give the project credibility.

Lidl Växjö is shortlisted in the BREEAM Awards 2017


Adding Value

After an initial comparison of BREEAM and LEED, BREEAM was chosen, being more comprehensive, more in line with Lidl’s sustainability goals and more useful as a design tool for the design team. Lidl plans to build similar concept stores at different locations all over Sweden. The project decided to target the BREEAM Outstanding level as a means of meeting the high sustainability goals set by Lidl. This would also give the building such qualities that it would ensure that upcoming future stores would reach certification regardless of location.

BREEAM certification was the start of a long-term value adding process for Lidl. It has contributed to the company’s dedication to and focus on sustainability. Internally, information campaigns are carried out in order to involve all employees. This has created a strong commitment within the entire organization, resulting in a higher focus on sustainability in daily operation as well as an increased sense of pride towards and for the organisation.

Externally, BREEAM certification has been central in communication, marketing and job advertisements. The WOW factor is high! The unexpected fact that Lidl’s first BREEAM certification is the first retail project in Sweden to reach the BREEAM Outstanding level has contributed to a curiosity about the company among customers and job applicants as well as in the media and with real estate companies and municipalities.

One of the focus areas in the certification process has been long-term operation and management. The project team has actively worked with the BREEAM related feasibility studies to question and test whether choices made in the past are the most favourable. The building developed in Växjö will be replicated in many locations around Sweden in the near future. Solutions developed in the project must therefore be wise and thoughtful to avoid poor choices being duplicated. Thereby the BREEAM certification has created conditions for better solutions in the rollout of the new stores.

BREEAM certification has also contributed to a very good relationship with the municipality of Växjö. Their commitment and interest has benefitted both ways: The location of Sweden’s first Outstanding retail building in Växjö has contributed to the cities sustainability profile with the claim of being “Europe’s greenest city”: The municipality will arrange national and international study visits to the Lidl store as an Outstanding example of sustainable building.

Vaxjo Full

Green Strategy

BREEAM is the driver for Lidl Sverige KB, as a property developer, to start working with sustainability directly related to the physical stores. Lidl have had a high focus on energy efficiency in their existing buildings, but aim for a more comprehensive approach to sustainable design, including a third party certification to give credibility and recognition.

Lidl Sverige KB has set a goal to become leader in sustainability in retail. In order to achieve this goal a sustainable approach to the design and construction of the new concept store is a prerequisite. It has been a beneficial challenge for the entire organisation. The sustainable strategies developed as part of the process of designing and constructing an Outstanding retail store have required curiosity, time and effort from a large number of employees at Lidl Sverige KB.

The choice to aim at a certification at Outstanding level has been an important incentive that has enabled all individuals in Lidl, in decision-making positions, to demand high standards in solutions from the design team, suppliers and consultants, at all stages of the process. Besides this, it has also meant that Lidl has set high standards for themselves and has put a lot of work, time and effort into ensuring that the company at large can deliver what has been promised within the project. To achieve Outstanding level is a major challenge, as it requires the project team to work actively in fulfilling nearly all BREEAM issues and criteria. Furthermore, it has meant an effort to find better solutions to previously predetermined, centrally controlled systems.

The project has worked actively to find long-term sustainable solutions while also looking at the BREEAM requirements from a holistic perspective, with combinations of solutions resulting in synergy effects rather than looking at each BREEAM requirement as a stand-alone issue.

At the interim design stage, the project has achieved 100% of the available credits within the category ‘Management’. The constructor has managed the construction site in an environmentally and socially considerate manner. Key individuals at the construction site have worked actively to monitor, follow up and communicate the environmental strategies, goals and progression throughout the project. Procedures have been put in place to ensure a safe, clean and considerate construction site. In addition, both moisture safety experts and BREEAM APs have been actively involved in the project.

Health & Wellbeing

At the interim design stage, the project has achieved 100% of the total number of available credits within the category ‘Health and Wellbeing’. The building has been designed, constructed and fitted out to ensure sufficient access to daylight, optimised thermal comfort and acoustic performance and low emitting internal finishes. The lighting strategy has been designed in line with best practice for visual performance and comfort to provide the best possible lighting environment from a health perspective. All fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps are fitted with high frequency ballast.


At the interim design stage, the project has achieved 81.4% of the total number of available credits within the category ‘Energy’. In addition to the measures taken to improve energy efficiency, and thus reduce the building’s energy consumption, extensive analysis has been carried out by energy specialists to develop the most efficient and advantageous strategy for local on-site energy generation from renewable sources. Finding a suitable and advantageous strategy was a challenge due to limitations of the site in terms of size, orientation, location and surrounding area. The analysis resulted in a local on-site energy generation strategy consisting of a combination of a reversible heat pump, with cold recovery from the refrigerated cabinets and cold storage rooms, and solar cells on the roof. This resulted in a 33 % reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the reference case. District heating would have been the natural choice as it is an accessible option in the area. However, the analysis showed a result that no one had expected. Thanks to the requirements in  BREEAM issue Ene 5, the option with the lowest CO2 emissions has been implemented and the project team has learned that the most common and, in many ways, natural choice need not always be the most advantageous.

Land Use & Ecology

At the interim design stage, the project has achieved 90% of the total number of available credits within the category ‘Land Use and Ecology’. The project has been located on an area of land that had previously been developed for use by commercial purposes. The land was of low ecological value before development and measures have been taken to minimise the long-term impact on biodiversity. New ecologically valuable habitat, appropriate to the local area, has been created resulting in a significant increase in plant species. An existing dilapidated Salix caprea located on the northeast side of the site was identified by the SQE to have some ecological value for endangered insects and wood fungi. It has therefore been preserved. Today this represents an important symbol for the project’s work to ensure an increase and improvement of the site’s ecology. Already at an early stage, the importance of the building not only being sustainable but also communicating sustainability to the public was discussed.


The client asked the design team to be innovative and to think outside the box in order to bring inspiring and added value solutions to the project. In terms of increase in ecology, the biggest challenge was undoubtedly the limitation in space. In order to achieve high scores, species and greenery were required in each applicable area of the site. One of the ideas that was generated from this challenge was the concept that, within the project organisation, is called ‘eco-zones’. The concept aims to highlight visually the importance of all living species. We are all part of the same ecosystem and humans need to show more consideration and create the best possible conditions to coexist. To underline this, spaces in the car park have been replaced with eco-zones.


By allocating space for the eco-zones, the project has shown that plants and animals are highly valued. Furthermore, the eco-zones have an important role in communication. Three different types of eco-zones, with different themes, have been created to accommodate various species, insects and birds. Information boards describing each type of eco-zone’s flora and fauna have been located for each zone.

Through their strong visual appeal, the eco-zones encourage customers and passers-by to stop, read the information boards and reflect. At the interim design stage, the project has achieved 84.62% of the total number of available credits within the category ‘Pollution’. The refrigerants used within building services and cold storage systems have an ODP of zero and GWP < 5% thus reducing the contribution to climate change. The plant installed to meet the building’s space heating demand has low dry NOX emission levels. Propane is the only refrigerant used in the building. Lidl International has a central contract for cold storage systems with the supplier AHT. At the initial stage of the project, AHT had not yet developed refrigerated cabinets that only used propane as the refrigerant.

Thanks to Lidl putting higher demands on the supplier, AHT today delivers refrigerated cabinets using propane. In addition, it also has led to a change in Lidl International’s central contract, where propane refrigerated cabinets have become the new standard in Lidl stores internationally.

The store has installed an advanced air/brine-to-water heat pump. Surrounding air is drawn in by the fan and fed through the heat exchanger that cools the air, by extracting heat from it. Waste heat recovery via a brine circuit from the refrigerated cabinets and cold storage cells is used as heat source.


The building is located in an area with a low risk for flooding and attenuation measures have been implemented to ensure that the peak rate run-off from the site to the municipal watercourse is no greater for the developed site. Within the area of ‘Materials’, the project has not held back from working with, perhaps the most demanding administrative BREEAM issues Mat 5 and Mat 6. The purchasers have increased the demands on the suppliers and have requested documentation confirming that the building materials have been responsibly sourced. Suppliers unable to live up to these requirements have been replaced in favour of better alternatives, but at the same time have been encouraged to review their supply chain from a responsible sourcing point of view for the future. In the long term, therefore, we believe that the project has contributed to the development of the industry as a whole.

In Summary

  • A short summary of some of the buildings’ environmental features:
  • 4 electric quick recharging stations for cars supplied by local on-site generated solar power. The recharging stations are free of charge for customers and employees.
  • 564 m² photovoltaic cells (where 280 m² supplies the electric recharging stations).
  • 3 electric recharging stations for electrical bikes, free of charge to use for customers and employees. In order to ensure safety for individuals charging their electric bicycles on site, the batteries can be placed in lockers.
  • BREEAM-compliant cycle storage spaces have been complemented with an automatic bicycle pump.
  • Energy efficient LED lighting internally and externally.
  • Heat recovery of waste heat from refrigerated cabinets and cold storage enclosures.
  • Energy efficient and robust design of the building.
  • Low emitting internal finishes.
  • Good indoor air quality.
  • Moisture safety construction.
  • Low water use fittings equipped with solenoid valves for water supply shut-off.
  • Dedicated storage facilities for operation-related recyclable waste streams
  • Innovative eco-zones invented for this project, with ecologically valuable habitat appropriate to the local area.
  • Green roof and meadows to enhance the site ecology.
  • Refrigerants with no Ozone Depleting Potential and low Global Warming Potential.
  • Space heating demand with low dry NOX emission levels.
  • Peak rate run-off no greater for the developed site, ensured through implementation of on-site attenuation measures

Key Facts

  • BREEAM rating: Outstanding
  • Score: 89%
  • Size: 2470 m2
  • Stage: Interim (Design) Stage
  • BREEAM version: BREEAM SE New Construction

Project Team