Geelen Counterflow has won the 2017 Breeam Award Offices New Construction. In 2016 the office already achieved the highest ever BREEAM certification score worldwide; 99,94%. This time, the office had to compete in front of a panel of 6 judges. One of the main criteria was the replicability for other projects. Other contenders in the category “new offices” included the headoffice of Triodos Bank in the Netherlands, a new office for Ikea in Sweden, and the new office for the European Union Intellectual Properly Office in Alicante. The judges were impressed by Geelen Counterflow's "robust team integration, including the supply chain...as well as the attractive and innovative design and robust cradle-to-cradle approach."
The office of 2800 m2 offers workspaces to 50 office employees and a canteen for 140. It generates 50% more energy from its solar panels than the building needs for ventilation, heating, cooling, light and computing. The excess electricity is used in the Geelen factory next door for cutting of stainless steel and charging of electric forklift trucks and cars. During weekends, excess electricity is supplied back to the local grid of Leudal Energie, whose windmills also supply any deficits when the sun does not shine.
However, the main reason for the high BREEAM score is the fact that the entire office is built out of massive timber, without adhesives. Walls and floors consist of 36cm. thick wood from the Black Forest. That wood contains 2,000 tons of absorbed CO2 as a result of which the office has a negative CO2 footprint. Rainwater is collected and used to flush toilets and to water the green wall in the heart of the building. An ecological garden around the building and parking spaces provides facilities for insects, birds, bats and frogs.
The BREEAM award 2017 was handed over by Michael Portillo to Managing Director Sander Geelen who accepted on behalf of the design team that consisted of Rob Wolfs and Ron Hochstenbach of Architecten en Bouwmeesters, Jos Wagemans of Wagemans Bouwadvies, Robert de Bourgraaf of Dubourgraaf and Ad van de Ven.
Geelen said, “We hope that this office will serve as an example to other construction projects. Energy-neutral construction in massive timber is just one of the ways in which we can make a small contribution to keeping our planet healthy for future generations.”
Geelen Counterflow (Haelen, Netherlands) builds and installs dryers and coolers for the feed and food industry worldwide. It enables its customers to save up to 50% energy. Since 2014 it has been working on the development of electrical dryers which save another 60-70% of energy and which can run on renewable energy only. Following successful testing in 2016, a market introduction is planned in 2017. The company’s long-term goal is to operate 100% sustainably.