SEB moves into Sweden’s biggest newly built office with sustainability focus

On 8 and 16 May, Swedish bank SEB started to move into its new premises in Arenastaden, Sweden’s biggest newly built office focusing on sustainability. Fabege owns and manages the property and the lease is their biggest so far. 

SEB moves to Arenastaden

Arenastaden Solna is the location of Sweden’s biggest newly built office premises, with a total area of 97,000 sqm. It will be the workplace of around 4,500 SEB employees. The district is one of northern Europe’s most modern, with sustainability being a catchword in terms of its development. There has long been a need at SEB for the bank to bring its various operations, which have been spread over four different addresses in Stockholm, together in one place. By moving three offices into one joint office, the company hopes to increase the level of collaboration and efficiency. The move is taking place in two stages, with around 2,500 employees moving into the new office in May 2017 and the rest moving in May 2018.

Close collaboration ensures prime conditions

Fabege and SEB collaborated closely on designing and constructing the building to ensure that the employees would have the best possible conditions for feeling at home there, developing professionally and working productively. 

“We expect our customers to notice this too,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at SEB. “This building offers a modern workplace constructed around the idea of it being easy to hold meetings, collaborate and feel good. The entire office premises has been customised to our business and our employees.”

“Laying the right foundations to ensure the success of our customers forms the core of all that we do,” says Klaus Hansen Vikström, Vice President at Fabege. “This is why we want to have our tenants on board as early as possible in the development of the property they’ll be working in.”

Flexible open-plan interior

SEB will not be switching to an activity-based approach in the new office. All employees will have their own desk.

“Our employees really appreciate that,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg. “On the other hand, we’re designing the office with a focus on flexibility, allowing us to easily change the landscapes and workspaces. We also have large project spaces for those frequently working in project teams.”

Focus on sustainability

The office building is certified to BREEAM-SE level Excellent, which is an ambitious international sustainable construction standard. It involves meeting very stringent requirements in the areas of health, indoor environment, energy, transport, water, waste, pollution, soil, ecology and materials. The certification encompasses the entire construction process and completed building, along with its immediate surroundings. The office premises were constructed from environmentally safe materials according to construction material assessment organisation Byggvarubedömningen. SEB’s new office premises are energy-efficient with low energy consumption (under 40 kWh/sqm), which is 50% lower than the standard for new builds. The energy consumed is 100% renewable, including the energy from 1,000 sqm solar cells. Five thousand square metres of vegetation on the roof encourage employees to talk walks and spend time outdoors, while also making a significant contribution to the greenery in the district, which is more abundant now than when construction began.

The office buildings also offer a state-of-the-art air conditioning system that adapts the air conditioning to the number of people currently in the room. All heat is reused. All organic waste is processed via flush tanks, to be converted into biogas. Locally sourced products are prioritised in purchasing to avoid long-distance transport. Paper cups have been exchanged for chinaware, and so on. Also, SEB has chosen to reuse over 30% of all furniture and fittings after the move instead of simply buying new ones.

“This was a requirement for us. I think our employees will feel very proud of it being such an eco-friendly building,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg.

“Sustainability is a crucial catchword in Fabege’s business operations,” says Klaus Hansen Vikström. “All our new office buildings are certified to BREEAM-SE, and we’re also in the process of certifying our existing properties. 

The office project has also been financed through what is known as green financing, that is, funds earmarked for financing investments that are sustainable and energy-saving in the long term.”

Health, well-being and sustainable behaviours

But sustainability is not only about energy-efficient construction and eco-friendly materials. It is also about safeguarding the health and well-being of employees. SEB wants there to be opportunities to take part in fitness activities close by, and has therefore made sure that there is a gym, a sports hall and other fitness options on the premises. They also want to encourage people to cycle to and from work, which is why there is a garage with space for around 1,200 bicycles. 

Arenastaden offers excellent conditions for developing sustainable behaviours. The district borders on a nature area, inspiring people to go for walks and engage in other forms of exercise, and the range of services is very broad and varied, enabling employees to combine the various parts of their lives more smoothly. The excellent communications also allow employees to develop sustainable commuting habits, something that SEB has included in the equation, and they have thus chosen to limit the number of car parking spaces.

New chapter in growing district

Monday 8 May marks the start of a new chapter in both SEB’s and Arenastaden’s history in that the move into the new office will begin.

And the development of the district will continue. According to a new report from IUC, there will be roughly 46,000 full-time jobs in and around the district from 2020.

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