Sustainable value creation is at the heart of HIAG’s site redevelopment vision. As the long-term site owner, HIAG shapes quarters at the intersections of important traffic routes. The challenge lies in understanding the identity and “soul” of a site and transposing it so that it remains at the heart of the quarter, thus preserving the environment for future generations. HIAG effectively helps counteract the pressure of urban sprawl. Switzerland’s considerable economic strength, political stability and tourist appeal give HIAG the ability to engage in initiatives and projects at its sites that have a global impact. Employees, clients and partners such as political communities, as well as Swiss society, as a whole benefit from this, now and for generations to come.
A few of HIAG’s sites are located on the courses of rivers, and have hydroelectric plants that were important energy sources for previous industrial operations. Due to their integration in site structures, HIAG has gradually taken over the operation and maintenance of these facilities, repairing and modernising the plants in recent years. Today, they are being used again to produce electricity at the sites in the Zurich highlands, in Biberist and in Diesbach. In 2019, five small hydroelectric plants with an installed capacity of about 2 MW generated a total of about 6,534,610 kWh of electricity from renewable energy, which corresponds to the average annual requirement of about 1,600 homes.
In Aathal (ZH), the hydroelectric issue is important for both the canton of Zurich and the historic preservation office. Three of the 12 power plants in the hydroelectric power chain that stretches through this region should receive renovation subsidies from the canton in the medium term based on a concept drafted by HIAG. These protected energy sources will therefore be maintained according to historic preservation principles, and HIAG will be able to operate the three hydroelectric plants in Aathal economically and in the long term.
Photovoltaics and solar lighting
On the roof of the former recruiting centre at the Kunzareal site in Windisch, which is currently home to the FARO Foundation’s “Spitzmatt residence” for people with disabilities, HIAG installed one of the largest photovoltaic facilities in the Brugg-Windisch region, with electricity production of 194 MWh from 794 modules with a surface area of 1,300 m2. The resulting total amount of CO2 emissions saved since 2013 is approximately 712 tons as at the end of 2019. Furthermore, “The Hive” campus in Meyrin has been illuminated by solar power-supported LED lights since 2019. This environmentally friendly exterior lighting contains a sophisticated technical solution. Each light is fitted with its own control panel. The solar cell collects the sun’s energy during the day, stores it in a battery and releases it autonomously at night via LED lamps. This saves 1,118 KWh of electricity and 30.2 kg of CO2 emissions every year. In addition, the photovoltaic facility at the “Hive 2” building produced 19,657 KWh of electricity in 2019. For new buildings, HIAG always checks whether the roof areas are suitable for the use of solar panels and whether the energy produced can be used locally or stored.
When creating housing projects, HIAG pays attention to the careful use of resources and strives to optimise the energy footprint, taking into account the needs of future residents throughout the entire cycle of use. The certification approach varies depending on the starting point with regard to use, anchor tenants and existing building substance. In recent years, HIAG’s building substances have received Minergie and LEED certifications, and for protected building substance, GEAK certification.
HIAG promotes the use of public transport and consciously refrains from providing a fleet of vehicles for its employees. Employees who need to travel frequently receive general or half-fare transport passes. Employees also have access to Mobility Carsharing, and those who travel often by train or who work at various sites receive mobile technical equipment. Mobility planning is generally also one of the focal points of site development. HIAG also supports mobility vehicle stations at its sites whenever possible; for example, at the Kunzareal site in Windisch. Furthermore, in December 2019, the Walzmühle site in Frauenfeld was directly connected to the Frauenfeld railway station via its own bus stop.
Quality in architecture and urban planning
Site redevelopment is an intensive communication task in which the requirements of policies, historic preservation, existing users, the local public and sometimes organisations must be taken into account in addition to the legal conditions for construction and planning. In order to deal with these complex interests, competition procedures are frequently held by invitation for urban planning issues and master plan procedures. Interests are recognised and dealt with by means of concrete contributions in two or multi-level processes and in committees where important stakeholders are represented. HIAG can thus reconcile its entrepreneurial vision for the site with the parties involved and at the same time feed proposals featuring premium urban planning and architectural quality, and in particular sociocultural themes such as biodiversity, into its processes. Lively parks where unique biodiversity can develop are included in urban planning. There is potential for a high-quality living environment around these parks. For example, a habitat with its own flora and fauna was created at “The Hive” campus in Meyrin. Around 70 kg of honey are produced annually from five beehives. Residents can watch the beekeepers at work with their bees. The sale of “The Hive” campus’ own honey strengthens identification with the site and offers the opportunity for individual contact. Since HIAG is a long-term owner of its sites, it can introduce and foster projects such as those at “The Hive” campus and thus considerably support the development of a unique site identity and vibrant quarter life.
Cooperation with educational institutions
HIAG fosters exchanges with education and research institutions and supports task-specific cooperation with universities in the context of site redevelopment. That way, students are given the opportunity to put theoretical knowledge into practice. In recent years, there have been cooperation programmes with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in the field of architecture, Lucerne University in the field of interior design and the University of Applied Sciences of North-West Switzerland in the field of energy and environmental technology. In addition, HIAG supports employees who work on specific topics as guest lecturers at universities such as the University of Zurich or Lucerne University.
A focus on client needs
From HIAG’s point of view, all direct and indirect site users are considered as clients. That includes our tenants’ customers and employees, as well as their ecosystem. HIAG views long-term redevelopment projects from the future client’s perspective. For example, based on HIAG’s experience with its clients’ needs, multitenant uses are now consistently designed for properties, even when they were originally occupied by only one tenant. HIAG’s insights also have an influence on the development of different services for the quarter and the creation of green spaces that serve as places of identity, the conversion of historic building substance and the selective use of art.
A partner for the Swiss workplace
For HIAG, site redevelopment also entails the strengthening of the Swiss workplace. HIAG’s commercial tenants include well-known, major corporations such as Amcor Flexibles Rorschach, Brugg Rohrsysteme, Doka Schweiz, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., IWG/Regus, LEM, Media Markt, Migros and Stadler Rail. HIAG places great value on close relationships with industrial anchor tenants. It benefits from its own expertise in the redevelopment of industrial structures, which is based on its industrial past. HIAG has always had positive experiences using local businesses first when redeveloping sites. Wherever a suitable supply structure is available, local suppliers are always invited to the tendering process and can thus become part of site development. Even the sites’ management is largely carried out in cooperation with regionally well-anchored service providers or with HIAG’s own teams on-site.
Room for innovation
HIAG and its users develop destinations with their own identity at its sites, allowing people and companies to develop at the location in the long term. “The Hive Innovation Lab” in Meyrin is an example of this; using a concept developed jointly by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HIAG, it has created a flexible and interconnected ecosystem that offers start-ups attractive space for interdisciplinary cooperation and innovation.
The binding Code of Conduct for all employees describes acceptable business behaviour and defines the guidelines that all employees must respect and support without exceptions or limitations. Responsible adherence to ethical standards and strict compliance with all laws applicable to the company are the foundation of all entrepreneurial activity. The Code of Conduct is available in PDF format at: Verhaltenskodex.pdf
The merging of HIAG’s values with its social responsibility can also be seen in the sustainable development goals formulated in the agenda 2030 of the United Nations (UN), which serve as HIAG’s guidelines. That way, HIAG’s sites can become the centre of meaningful entrepreneurial initiatives and serve as a framework for a technology-based renaissance: infrastructure, innovative strength and production capacity create solutions for future generations.