The new head office of dryer and cooler manufacturer Geelen Counterflow in Haelen, the Netherlands, is the most sustainable office in the world, having received a 99.94% score in the BREEAM certification system.
The 50-employee office building generates 50% more solar energy than is required to fulfil heating, air conditioning, lighting and computer needs. The extra energy is diverted to the factory to be used in the laser cutting of stainless steel and recharging of electric forklift trucks.
Where possible, building materials are ‘Cradle to Cradle’ certified, meaning that they do no harm to the environment and can be re-used at the end of their lifetime with minimal or no waste. The building is constructed out of wood, which is considered to have the lowest CO2 footprint of any construction material.
The design is optimised for employee health and productivity through control of daylight infiltration, air quality and indoor lighting, and with the use of healthy materials.
The office features a natural garden with a variety of native plants and flowers. The landscaping also includes nesting sites for birds, bugs, bats and amphibians.
Sander Geelen, managing director of Geelen Counterflow, said: "In our never ending quest to build the best dryers and coolers for food and feed we apply the laws of nature around gravity, aerodynamics and thermodynamics. So when we build a new office it only makes sense to respect these laws and the limits of nature too. This office is another step on our journey to phase out fossil fuels. The next step is to develop a new generation of dryers that will use renewable energy only."
The office was designed by Architecten en Bouwmeesters. Wagemans Bouwadvies provided construction management. The technical installations were designed by Dubourgraaf, and Ad van de Ven was BREEAM-NL expert.
BREEAM is the world's leading sustainability assessment method for buildings and projects. Globally there are more than 540,700 BREEAM certified developments. In the Netherlands, the system is managed by the Dutch Green Building Council.
Geelen Counterflow develops and manufactures counterflow dryers and coolers for the food and feed industry. With 100 associates, the company delivers equipment used to manufacture human food like coffee, cornflakes and croutons, animal feed, aquafeed and petfood. It has sales and service offices in the Netherlands, USA, Argentina and China.