Style and sustainability in Amsterdam
As sustainable as it is stylish, it features an innovative use of water from the bay of the River IJ for heating and cooling, a water recycling system, and solar energy collection and storage. The Kraanspoor became the first European real estate project to be awarded the Green Award by the MIPIM real-estate fair.
The environment as priority
Increasingly, Amsterdam building projects are prioritising sustainability. The new premises of environmental consultancy Search give back more energy than they use. ABN AMRO is transforming a Rembrandtplein monument into an energy- and climate-neutral office complex called The Bank. All the projects forming a part of the new business area, Zuidas, to the south of the city, must meet the highest sustainability requirements.
Amsterdam announced that by mid-2015, all new construction in the city must be energy neutral. Commercially, there’s a growing conviction that the value of greener buildings, with their lower (or zero) energy costs, will prove higher in the long run. Sustainable building is an increasingly important export product for Amsterdam’s real estate sector. More and more foreign companies are moving here to take advantage of local knowledge.
Environmentally conscious initiatives are also figuring prominently elsewhere in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Amstelveen produced Europe’s first sustainable office building, and Almere will soon unveil the first sustainable supermarket. Infact, Almere, the fastest-growing city in Europe, has embraced the cradle-to-cradle (C2C) principle as the basis for all further urban development. C2C was defined by the German-American duo Michael Braungart and William McDonough, and McDonough has been hired as a consultant by Almere.
As an architect, McDonough is also involved in realising the sustainable ambitions of Haarlemmermeer, close to Schiphol. “A total of 114,000 m2 of premises will be built according to the C2C concept,” says developer Kees Noorman of Delta Development Group. “That will make it Europe’s largest sustainable business area so far.”
A study on the future development of the property market in and around Amsterdam, by international estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle, underlines the trend. Two-thirds of European real estate investors are already willing to pay more for sustainable projects, so it seems that one of the greatest barriers to sustainable construction has disappeared. “The level of sustainability is increasingly important,” the report concludes.
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