The new head office of dryer and cooler manufacturer Geelen Counterflow in Haelen, The Netherlands, has been named the most sustainable office in the world, receiving a 99.94 percent score in the BREEAM certification system.
The building for 50 office employees generates 50 percent more solar energy than it needs for heating, air conditioning, lighting and computers. The extra energy is used in the factory for laser cutting of stainless steel and recharging of electric forklift trucks.
Where possible, the building materials are “Cradle to Cradle” certified, which means that they do no harm to the environment and that they can be reused at the end of their lifetime. The building is constructed out of wood which is considered to have the lowest carbon dioxide footprint of any construction material.
The design is optimized for employee health and productivity through control of daylight infiltration, air quality and indoor lighting, and by using healthy materials.
Around the office, a natural garden has been created using a variety of native plants and flowers. The landscaping also includes nesting sites for birds, bugs, bats and amphibians.
“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,” said Sander Geelen, managing director of Geelen Counterflow. “So when we build a new a 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. Construction management was by Wagemans Bouwadvies. 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 food (like coffee, cornflakes and croutons), animal feed, aquafeed and petfood. It has sales and service offices in the Netherlands, the United States, Argentina and China.