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sustainable construction
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How Amsterdam is constructing a sustainable future

Building a sustainable future starts from the ground up. In Amsterdam, a building boom combined with ambitious climate goals has given rise to an innovative construction sector that is breaking new ground when it comes to eco-friendly circular design.

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Making an impact through circular design

In Europe, the construction industry is responsible for approximately 35% of the continent's waste generation and accounts for 1/3 of CO2 emissions. With the aim of becoming emission-free by 2030 and fully circular by 2050, Amsterdam has become a hub for sustainable construction methods.

The city’s approach includes new municipal tender requirements that encourage the use of bio-based or recycled materials and regenerative design. The idea is to create buildings that absorb CO2 and can be adapted instead of demolished for future use. According to Nancy Zikken, Trade Developer Sustainable & Smart Cities at Amsterdam Trade & Innovate:

“Only 10% of CO2 emissions from the building sector comes from the building process itself. 90% of CO2 emissions come from the production and transportation of materials.”

By rethinking and resourcing the materials used in the building process, there is the opportunity for impactful emission reduction throughout the sector.

Leading by example

Amsterdam’s commitment to furthering sustainable architecture has already materialised in several building projects raising the industry standard. These projects have features that reduce their environmental footprint, extend their lifespan, and promote social and ecological growth. This includes the use of reclaimed and recycled materials, energy neutral facilities, and modular design.

Lab42 in Amsterdam Science Park

hub for tech and AI collaboration in Amsterdam Science Park
Image from Jannes Linders fotograaf

Last fall, Lab42 opened in Amsterdam Science Park as a hub for AI and information science. Not only is the state-of-the-art facility energy neutral, but it uses a 100% reusable steel structure as a rack meaning it can be reconfigured in the future. Other circular features include reused wooden beams, recycled concrete floor, cable ducts and fire hose reels. The building powers itself through solar panels installed on the roof and windows and even recycles rainwater for use in flushing toilets.

VU StartHub at the Vrije Universiteit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Image from Too van Velzen

In October 2022, the VU StartHub opened on the Vrije Universiteit campus as a launchpad for entrepreneurship, knowledge, and business with social impact. Made from refurbished construction units, the space features flexible human-centric design that can not only be adapted, but also dismantled and reconstructed in another location. This extends the building’s lifespan, ensuring that it can accommodate the university’s changing needs. Other sustainable features include a green roof, waterless urinals, and even a beehive to promote biodiversity.

Amsterdam is setting the stage for circular transition 

With lofty climate ambitions and an innovative spirit, Amsterdam is fast becoming a hub for shaping a more sustainable future. The city hosted WasteBuild Zero 2023 – a conference uniting Europe's leading construction professionals showcasing the latest in emission saving materials and techniques in the building industry.

As one of the first cities in the world to adopt the doughnut economic model, Amsterdam is forging a path towards regenerative practices. In 2022, the city launched the Circular Economy Monitor to hold itself accountable for climate action. This tool allows the municipality to assess what emissions and materials make the most impact and helps inform actionable steps towards achieving their targets. 

Contact amsterdam inbusiness
Official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
Get in touch for information on setting up your business in the Amsterdam area.
Helping international companies make a start in Amsterdam
Contact me