Embracing Green Building

Following our departure from Gotland, we were thinking about our visit to the Bungenäs limestone quarry and how the architect’s design concept for the land fit with the Swede’s minimalism and all around concern for the environment. To begin with, here is a little background on the island. Unlike the rest of Sweden, Gotland is made of limestone and also contains wildlife and flora unique as compared to the rest of the country, as it originated further away and moved gradually to where it is today during the continental shift.

In developing this piece of land, which was formally used by the Swedish military, sustainable architecture, or green building techniques, are used to preserve the land’s natural beauty. No land that has not been previously built upon can house new development. Further, pre-existing structures, including the old military remains such as the old lunch hall, bunkers, and concrete trenches, should be used in the new landscape to minimize waste and fully utilize recycled materials. As a part of natural building, only stone, limestone, and reusable remains may be utilised in the project. Also notable are the building locations. In order to preserve the landscape, no house built can be too large, and the houses should be hidden in nature so as not to mar the scenery or be visible from afar. With such techniques, this development of the old limestone quarry minimizes any negative environmental or social impact.

Of course as business students, we also care about profits. According to Daniel, the architect who showed us around, because of the scenic views and well preserved natural landscape, buyers are still willing to pay a hefty sum for a small and simple plot. Further, according to a report done in 2009 by the US General Services Administration, buildings with sustainable design have a lower production cost and better long-term energy performance. Moreover, occupants tend to be more satisfied with the overall building in such cases, as compared to typical commercial buildings.

With this being the reality and the Swedish mentality, it is no wonder that green building was embraced in full. As we have learned, often being environmentally and people conscious can have a positive long-term effect, and thus be a good business decision.