The Amsterdam Area aspires to be a leader in the field of smart solutions for resource conservation by 2025, and innovative buildings throughout the city are helping it meet this ambitious goal. By reducing waste, saving energy and shrinking the capital’s carbon footprint, they’re making a difference every day. Check out a few buildings on the cutting edge of sustainable design and learn how Amsterdam is working to become an eco-friendly destination for people and businesses alike.
Amsterdam University College academic building
Housing classrooms, project spaces, conference rooms and workspaces as well as a library, restaurant and common room, the academic building of Amsterdam University College makes learning a green endeavour. The zigzagging roof is covered in grass which soaks up and stores water while acting as natural insulation. Motion sensors and daylight detection systems prevent unnecessary power use, so don’t worry if you forget to turn off the lights. There’s also a joint heating and cooling system in the neighbouring Amsterdam Science Park, which traps heat in the summer and uses it for warmth in the winter.
One of Europe’s most sustainable urban developments, De Ceuvel is located on a former shipyard in Amsterdam Noord and is home to social and creative enterprises. Originally, the land used for the project was heavily polluted, but it’s being cleaned through phytoremediation, a process that removes toxins with plants. Offices on the site are made from renovated houseboats that were originally slated for destruction, and it’s also home to a floating bed and breakfast. The workspaces are outfitted with clean technologies that minimise waste and energy consumption, and over 150 solar panels keep things powered up. There’s even a greenhouse using aquaponics that supplies the on-site café with fresh herbs and vegetables.
Goede Doelen Loterijen building
Built in 1975, the building housing the Goede Doelen Loterijen (the group that includes the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the BankGiro Lottery and the FriendsLottery) doesn’t gamble when it comes to sustainability. After a complete renovation, the once drab office is now one of the greenest buildings in the Netherlands. Its sparkling aluminium roof prevents overheating and is covered in 900 solar panels that produce roughly 300 megawatt hours of energy annually. The roof, which is supported by massive beams resembling trees, also collects rainwater, which is used in the building’s plumbing system. Myco Foam, made of fungus and agricultural waste, provides insulation, while high-tech windows generate additional energy. The building also earned the highest possible BREEAM score for its sustainable features and minimal environmental impact.
Called the “smartest building in the world” by Bloomberg, The Edge is spread over 40,000 square metres in Amsterdam Zuid and features a 15-storey atrium that fills it with light. Employees use an app to find a workspace – options include standing desks, meeting rooms and balcony seats. The app also remembers their individual light and temperature preferences and adjusts accordingly. In the summer, the building stores water in an underground aquifer, where it’s insulated until winter and pumped back out for heating. The Edge also consumes 70 per cent less electricity than average office buildings and is equipped with rooftop solar panels.
Johan Cruijff ArenA
The home of Ajax, Amsterdam’s football club, the Johan Cruijff ArenA is one of the world’s most sustainable sporting and entertainment venues. The stadium’s retractable roof has 4,300 solar panels and three megawatts of electricity are stored using old electric vehicle batteries through a system created in partnership with Nissan. Additionally, the stadium relies on wind power, collects rainwater, uses lake water for climate cooling and is equipped with energy-producing escalators.
This eye-catching development in Sloterdijk is the result of a collaboration between architects from five Dutch firms and effortlessly fuses nature with city living. VERTICAL is also highly sustainable and uses wind, sun and geothermal heat for power. Water is efficiently used and recycled while ample gardens and green façades are found throughout the structure, providing habitat space for birds and insects while naturally cooling the buildings. Several of its 144 apartments, lofts, hangar homes and maisonettes have been designed for professionals who work from home, minimising pollution-causing commutes.