High sustainability score for Athora office in Alkmaar
15 January 2021
The office building of Athora Netherlands in Alkmaar has been re-certified according to the BREEAM-NL In-Use method. This objective test compares the sustainability performance of existing buildings and provides guidelines for making them even more sustainable. It is the only existing building in Alkmaar to receive three stars for 'Asset', four stars for 'Management' and three stars for 'Use'. This makes the Alkmaar office one of the most sustainable buildings in the area. Especially now that solar panels have recently been installed on the roof.
BREEAM is a complex methodology to identify specific points for improvement on sustainability. That is why Jeffrey Buurs, Manager of Quality, Occupational Health and Environment, would have preferred an improvement in the score compared to three years ago, he explains. "Our office in Alkmaar does not use any natural gas and we have always paid a lot of attention to things like thermal energy storage, energy-efficient lighting, planting around the building and sustainable mobility. That is why it is becoming increasingly challenging to find room for improvement in an existing building like ours. Certainly also because legislation and regulations on sustainability are becoming increasingly stringent. Nevertheless, the scores of three, four and three stars respectively are ones that very few comparable buildings in the area achieve."
Real-time monitoring of water consumption
When Jeffrey Buurs zooms in on the results of the extensive study, which in all took 400 hours of work by the special working group, several things stand out positively. "Where we as Athora do really well, for example, is in the area of waste separation. We actively manage waste and monitor whether the waste streams are delivered correctly to the processor. In the field of energy, water saving stands out positively. Last year, for example, we introduced a tool that allows us to monitor our water consumption in real time. This allows us to detect leaks much quicker than usual and prevents any water wastage."
See the BREEAM certificate for more information about the scores on the various components.
106 solar panels on the roof
Concrete steps have already been taken to reinforce Athora's sustainable housing policy and to ensure that the BREEAM sustainability rating will be higher in three years' time. "Recently, 106 solar panels were installed on the roof in Alkmaar, which together are good for 28,832 kWh, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about ten households," says Jeffrey Buurs. "This means that we can make good savings on our own energy consumption."
Room for improvement
The BREEAM study revealed more possibilities for further improvement. "For the coming years, we mainly see opportunities in the areas of Management and Use. Think, for example, of improving sustainability throughout the chain. We can certainly achieve further gains by entering into even better cooperation with our suppliers on this subject. For improvements in the area of Usage, I expect a lot from innovations in the market, which can help us to become more sustainable."
The BREEAM-NL methodology (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) assesses buildings on three different components: Asset, Management and Use. Asset refers to building-related matters such as heat and cold storage or proximity to public transport. Management looks at policy-related matters, such as measuring air quality, cleaning policy or monitoring energy consumption. The third component, Use, assesses the measures to be taken in relation to the users of the building. Within these three sections, nine different aspects are assessed, including energy, water and transport. The certification is valid for three years.