The most sustainable office building in the world has been constructed in the Netherlands, receiving a 99.94 per cent score from the BREEAM certification system, the longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings.
The building will serve as the new head office of dryer and cooler manufacturer Geelen Counterflow in Haelen.
The building has been designed for 50 office employees and generates 50 per cent 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 electric forklift trucks.
Where possible, the building materials have also been ‘cradle to cradle’ certified, which means they do not harm the environment and can be re-used at the end of their lifetime.
The building is constructed out of wood which is considered to have the lowest CO2 footprint of any construction material.
It has been designed with the employee’s health in mind through control of daylight infiltration, air quality and indoor lighting.
Geelen Counterflow managing director Sander Geelen said: "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.
“So when we build a new 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."
A green wall made of living plants sits in the middle of the building underneath a large skylight to keep them alive.
Wooden buildings and the use of timber in larger structures has been attracting increasing interest from architects in recent years.
Researchers recently presented conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300m-high timber skyscraper to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.