30 March 2021. The topic of sustainability is increasingly becoming a major focus of companies and public institutions. It embodies a principle of action through which a long-lasting, positive effect can be achieved while conserving resources. Sustainability in the creation of a new building does not only begin with the use of recycled building materials and end with the planting of plants in the outdoor areas. Rather, sustainability encompasses social, ecological and economic dimensions in an ongoing process. The HSG Learning Center is rising to this challenge and wants to transparently demonstrate how a sustainable-focused economy can be lived in a responsible manner.
Recycled concrete and sustainable energy concept
The building materials used in the new Learning Centre are mainly recycled. About 50 percent of the concrete used has been recycled and is sourced directly from the region. In addition, the use of hollow bodies in the concrete ceilings makes it possible to keep the ceiling weight and the CO2 footprint low. The energy concept for heating via geothermal probe fields and cooling via an energy-efficient cooling system implements Swiss Minergie Standards, the highest energy standard in Switzerland for low-energy houses. Furthermore, the power supply for the Learning Center is largely provided by solar modules on the roof.
Nature as a place of retreat
The Learning Center is characterised by an open grid: Rooms can be freely resized by movable partitions to suit the needs of each event. In addition, with the help of Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea, nature will be strongly incorporated as a place of retreat on the terraces and in the building's outdoor spaces. The interaction of people, nature and space plays an overriding role here. For example, bees could soon find a new home on the Learning Center grounds - right next to an urban gardening terrace where open-air yoga takes place.
Later on, sustainability will be actively embodied by visitors to the Learning Centre itself. In the cafeteria, for example, the focus is specifically on a regional and seasonal offers with products that are grown sustainably. In addition, food vending machines are available that offer ready-made meals that follow this sustainability concept. In this way, the local economy is to be more involved and supported.
Last but not least, events in the Learning Centre should also share a sense of community. The fact that sustainability plays an important role for the START Global University Association is expressed in particular by the young project ROSE (Return on Society and Environment). The project has set the goal of striving for an economy in which social and ecological returns are worth just as much as the financial ones. The students want to achieve this with targeted sustainability coaching of start-ups.
Until now, there was no framework for start-ups to measure sustainable impact, so we developed one.
Thaïs, Managing Director START ROSE
The framework follows the so-called ESG criteria (Environmental Social Governance), with which the sustainable impact in the areas of environment, social affairs and corporate governance is to be evaluated. ROSE accompanies start-ups for years and offers them continuous support. The focus is on an activating a mindset, with less on justifications and more on joint forward thinking to achieve a long-lasting and thus sustainable, positive impact.
Text: Anna Kati Schreiter