It might not look particularly groundbreaking, with its full-length windows and timber cladding. But this is, according to industry standards, the most sustainable office in the world. That's according to the rating it scored on the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREAAM) certification scheme, which is — more or less — considered to be the gold standard in judging the sustainability of buildings. This scored the highest rating for an office building ever on its assessment — with 99.94 per cent — making it the most sustainable in the world.
The building, in Haelen, Netherlands, is the new head office of dryer and cooler manufacturer Geelen Counterflow. What makes it so special? Quite a lot actually.
Its solar power system produces 50 per cent more energy than the buildings uses, with the excess diverted to a nearby factory for use in laser cutting and powering forklifts. The majority of the building is made from wood while other components have been 'cradle to cradle' certified to ensure that they can be re-used down the line. And the whole thing has been designed so that daylight infiltration and air quality are consistently good all day long for employees. There are even living walls inside the building, full of native plants and flowers.
I know I'd happily work in the space.
Images by John Sondeyker