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Geelen Counterflow achieves highest sustainability score for office design

Geelen Counterflow has received a Five Star “outstanding” BREEAM-NL certificate during the “Duurzaam Gebouwd” conference in Maastricht for the design of the company's new office.

Annemarie van Doorn, director of the Dutch Green Building Council, handed over the sustainability certificate to Sander Geelen, managing director of Geelen Counterflow. The design team earned a score of 94.19%, the highest score ever achieved in the Netherlands. The new office for 50 employees will be fully constructed with prefabricated walls and floors of 100% unglued and non-chemically treated wood, grown in sustainably managed forests in the Black Forest region of Germany. Where possible, "Cradle To Cradle" certified building materials will be applied, according to the company.

By building according to the “Passive House” guidelines and thanks to the 330 solar panels on the roof, the office will produce 50% more renewable energy than the total energy consumption for heating/cooling, ventilation, lighting, copiers/printers, servers and PCs. This can be achieved thanks to the thermal bridge free detailing, wide and tall window openings with triple glazing, Southern orientations with external sun shading, day light controlled LED lighting, air-tight design with balanced mechanical ventilation, Ba-Opt climate control, geothermal heat probes and solar energy collectors. The excess of solar power will be used elsewhere on site for, among other things, charging of forklift trucks and laser cutting of stainless steel. Rainwater is reused for flushing toilets and around the building ecological measures are being taken to promote biodiversity.

“We will have to change the way we do business to stay within the limits of our planet’s resources," said Geelen. "On a very small scale, this office shows that this is possible and that it can be done with a reasonable return on investment.” Completion is scheduled for December 2014.

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