When we built our store in Gothenburg, we decided to go all out. Was it possible to build the world’s most sustainable store?
Houdini’s eco-friendly store opened its doors at Magasinsgatan 22 in Gothenburg in September 2014. It is the first of its kind in Sweden and perhaps even in the world. We built this store with the aim of redefining consumption.
At Houdini we are rethinking more and more of our business model and transitioning from a linear to a circular approach. Together with Vasakronan, the world’s first climate-neutral real estate company, we have created a store that is leading the way in environmental sustainability.
Besides the obvious, such as taking the environment into consideration when selecting materials, paints and lighting, we are also offering second-hand sales, rentals, a repair service and recycling. We call these our Re-projects - Reuse, Rent, Repair, Recycle.
Our Re-projects extend the life cycle of our products. They require a fundamental change in how consumers use products, i.e. placing more focus on access to and the delivered function of a product rather than actual ownership. By incorporating this as a natural part of our business model, we have created a basis that will promote a focus on both the environment and profits, instead of one holding the other back.
We truly believe that it is possible to consume goods in an environmentally friendly way, but it requires thinking outside the box. Rent, swap, borrow, buy second-hand. If you have to buy a new product, make sure it will last for a long time (both in terms of quality and style) and that it has been manufactured under conditions that are beneficial to both people and the environment.
Facts about the store:
- The store is located in a building that will be LEED certified in its entirety during the course of 2015. This means that the entire building will be assessed from a sustainability perspective (LEED is an environmental certification).
- We signed an eco-friendly rental contract with Vasakronan with the goal of working together to decrease energy consumption from heating, cooling and electricity. We are also working together to increase the recycling of packaging and waste and to make renovations to the store less resource-intensive.
- The property's heat, electricity, etc. are all climate-neutral, which entails that Vasakronan, after signing the rental contract with us, made energy-related investments into the property with the goal of achieving a very low level of consumption level, i.e. 80 kwh/sqm/year.
- All of the faucets are water-efficient and the toilet takes its water from the sink.
- The store has “smart” washing machines and drying cabinets in order to offer customers the possibility of washing Houdini clothing gently and energy-efficiently as well as to take care of our rental clothing.
- Vasakronan has installed a new, energy-efficient ventilation unit and a new control & monitoring system, which contributes to more energy-efficient use throughout the entire building.
- In the summer of 2015 we will plant a garden in the inside courtyard, and plants have already been planted in vertical containers on the walls outside the store.
Decisions about materials for the store will also be made in accordance with Byggvarubedömningen's Assessment Criteria, a system designed to assess the environmental impact of building products. Many substances that are now considered hazardous have historically been used in the building industry, including asbestos, PCB, freon, cadmium and lead – and the list can go on. New substances with hazardous properties are constantly being introduced, for example substances that affect hormones. Using Byggvarubedömningen's Assessment Criteria when selecting new materials makes it easy to focus during renovation work on materials that are good for both people and nature. We have opted to leave the store in its existing condition to the greatest extent possible and our own interior furnishings either come from previous stores or were bought second-hand. The layout of the store was designed in collaboration with Storydesign and Marge Arkitekter in order to create a holistic experience for all five senses.
Outside the store is a small service station for bikes that has a bike pump and some tools in order to encourage more people to bike instead of taking the car. Transports to and from the store are delivered by a small train that delivers to several stores in the immediate area in order to avoid unnecessary vehicle traffic. When possible, the store will also use Pling/Move by bike, which delivers all of its transports by bike.