Riihimäki received Finland’s first wood-structured Lidl
The first wood-structured Lidl in Finland was opened in Riihimäki in November. The extraordinarily extensive use of wood required new types of construction solutions. They gave the interior a peaceful and spacious feel, and the carbon footprint was reduced by a quarter.
Lidl is constantly looking for more climate-friendly ways of construction. The first wood-structured Lidl in Finland, with predetermined life cycle costs and carbon footprint, was opened in Riihimäki in late November.
“When we looked at the climate impact of different construction options, the carbon footprint of the building materials of a wood-constructed store proved to be one fourth smaller than that of a steel or concrete structure,” says low-carbon expert Kari Nöjd from Sweco. The store only uses green electricity, recycles condensation heat and produces renewable energy with 270 solar panels. “They cover over 10% of the store’s electricity needs and save 9.95 tonnes of carbon emissions.”
In line with its sustainability programme, Lidl also takes biodiversity into account in its construction. An ecologist mapped the plot prior to construction, and elements that promote the preservation of living organisms have been introduced into the yard. The plot is planted with pine trees, the maintenance building has a green roof and the yard has down wood structures and insect hotels. A butterfly meadow is also growing next to the parking area. ”Ensuring biodiversity is a part of all our new projects,” says Antti Isokoski, Head of Property at Lidl.
The familiar customer experience remained despite the use of wood in construction
Sweco experts used experiences from the first wood-constructed Lidls in Sweden in the overall design. Some completely new solutions were also piloted in Riihimäki. “Instead of visible glulam beams and roof elements, the store’s roof was made with box elements with a 20-metre span,” says Project Manager Susanna Friman from Sweco. Thanks to the large span, no load-bearing structures are visible on the store’s ceiling, making the space contiguous and open.
An exceptional amount of wood was used; only the substructure, floor and civil defence shelter are concrete. “The extensive use of wood was possible, because the single-storey store’s loads are moderate and Lidl has a clear concept,” says Friman. Strutting the building was challenging due to the large glass facade at the other end of the building. “Indeed, we utilised panel walls and glulam cantilever columns in strutting.”
The wooden material makes everyday life in the store and further development easier. After-fixings can be implemented directly on the partition walls, and openings in the exterior wall can be made later on, if required by an extension, for example. The wooden surfaces also create a calming atmosphere in the store, even though the customer experience that our customers have come to expect remains the same. “Even the unique wooden facade looks quite similar to a traditional Lidl facade from afar,” Friman says.
The OneSweco process was effortless for the client
Lidl Riihimäki was implemented as an all-in contract, because Lidl wanted to be closely involved in the design process and solutions of the pilot building. Together with the wooden element supplier, Sweco experts ensured that the solutions work. “As a client, we were left with a good feeling about how Sweco and the element supplier clearly spoke a common language,” Isokoski says.
The design process was extraordinarily straight-forward. “Already in the first workshop, Lidl had a clear vision of the types of structures and partners they wanted to use,” Friman praises. Nevertheless, wood construction requires plenty of cooperation and co-creation. “We combined all of our structural designs with the element provider’s production.”
From the point of view of Lidl, the project was clearly steered by one operator, as Friman also coordinated internal cooperation between Sweco designers. Any open issues were processed in advance in weekly meetings by the project group, which kept planning meetings with the client relatively short. “To us, the OneSweco operations model meant fast action, ease and clarity,” Isokoski says. “We always knew whom to contact.”
He says that Lidl Riihimäki has been an encouraging experience. “The pilot strengthened our aim to make wood construction a real alternative to other methods of construction. Next, we will be surveying user experiences to develop the concept.”
“Thanks to the large span of the box elements of the roof, no load-bearing structures are visible on the store’s ceiling, making the space contiguous and open.”
– Susanna Friman, Sweco