SHOWCASING VENLO CITY HALL
CRADLE TO CRADLE! The municipality of Venlo has the ambition to have fully integrated the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy in its operations by 2030. Designed by Kraaijvanger Architects, Venlo City Hall is one of the few projects in the Netherlands where the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy has been fully embedded in the design and operations of the building.
SEPTEMBER 2015 / ISSUE 1
Colophon Eurbanlab Showcasing - Volume 1, Issue 1, September 2015 This is a publication of Eurbanlab in cooperation with Javelin Creative Solutions. Copyright ÂŠ 2015 Eurbanlab All rights reserved. Text: Roger Toussaint, Javelin Creative Solutions Final editing & design: Eurbanlab Graphic design: Joep van Urk, Digital imagine Client: Kraaijvanger Architecten Images: Courtesy of Kraaijvanger Architecten For more information please visit our website: www.eurbanlab.eu. To submit material for consideration of publication, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders and to ensure that all the information presented is correct. Some of the facts in this volume may be subject to debate or dispute. If proper copyright acknowledgment has not been made, or for clarifications and corrections, please contact the publisher and we will correct the information in future publications.
Venlo City Hall
Location Venlo, the Netherlands
A Cradle-to-Cradle inspired building TEXT: ROGER TOUSSAINT
Venlo City Hall is one of the first and few construction projects in the Netherlands that has a clearly defined Cradle-to-Cradle ambition. Designed by Kraaijvanger Architects, the project aims to show that Cradle-to-Cradle inspired buildings are feasible and can represent a viable business case. Expected to open its doors in 2016, Venlo City Hall will mark the start of the municipality’s endeavor to become a circular economy in 2030. The Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) philosophy expands on the general sustainability approach that seeks to reach eco-efficiency by reducing negative impacts on human and environmental health. In an eco-effective approach, the C2C philosophy aims to improve human and environmental health, based on the following five principles: • Material Health: Value materials as nutrients for safe, continuous cycling; • Material Reutilization: Maintain continuous flows of biological and technical nutrients; • Renewable Energy: Power all operations with 100% renewable energy; • Water Stewardship: Regard water as a precious resource; • Social Fairness: Celebrate all people and natural systems. In this approach, materials are viewed as nutrients, circulating in a healthy and safe metabolism. Cradle-to-Cradle products are certified for their sustainability, efficiency in industrial processes, material properties and toxicity, as well as their potential to be reused in the technological cycle, or to be returned to the natural cycle.
Status Being implemented Timeline Design 2009 Construction 2010 In-use 2016 Cost €46 million Surface area 13.500 m2 Certification Energy A+ Cradle2Cradle inspired Client Municipality of Venlo Developing parties Kraaijvanger Architects, C2C ExpoLAB, Veldhoen&Co, RoyalHaskoning DHV, WSM, Laudy/Ballast Nedam
In recent years this biomimetic approach has gradually been translated to the building scale, but only few have managed to fully incorporate the concept in their design. The newly built city hall will be an exemplar building for sustainable, comfortable and healthy working environments. In one open and accessible complex, Venlo City Hall will combine several municipal services that are currently scattered over town. The public hall offers a view of the Meuse River and its flood plains. The tower provides in 13,500m2 of office floor space for 620 offices. A 3-layer underground parking garage provides in 400 parking spaces. The Cradle-toCradle inspired city hall has a total estimated cost of €46 million.
“Only a few have managed to fully incorporate the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy in their building design.”
An integrated design process The newly built city hall will be an exemplar building for sustainable, comfortable and healthy working environments. In an open and accessible building, Venlo City Hall will combine several municipal services that are currently scattered over town. The public hall offers a view of the Meuse River and its flood plains. The tower provides in 13,500m2 of office floor space for 620 offices. A 3-layer underground parking garage provides in 400 parking spaces. The Cradle-to-Cradle inspired city hall has a total estimated cost of €46 million.
C2C principles to their final vision. Two weeks later, the commission assessed the submitted visions and awarded the project to Kraaijvanger architects. “The commission valued our vision because of its holistic approach in the application of the Cradle-to-Cradle principles”, project architect Hans Goverde explains. The three central elements of their vision included (1) a large green façade which will improve the indoor and outdoor air-quality, (2) the use of C2C inspired materials that can be recycled afterwards, and lastly (3) the building would
“We suggested an integrated design approach in which we would make optimal use of the latest insights available on the market.”
In the European architectural tender procedure, the municipality deviated from the standard approach. Instead of asking for a specific design, the client asked the architects to present their vision a Cradle-to-Cradle inspired city hall. The municipality invited the five best visions to a kick-off meeting, together with frontrunners in the field of Cradle-to-Cradle design. Hosted by the co-founder of the C2C approach, Prof. Dr. Braungart and McDonough+Partners, the meeting inspired the five remaining architects to improve and further translate the
generate more energy than it consumes. “Maybe more importantly, however, we suggested an integrated design approach in which we would make optimal use of the latest insights available on the market”, Goverde clarifies. During the tender phase, the architects already approached a number of suppliers to get familiarized with the available products on the market and to answer some of their design questions. “We didn’t have a comprehensive design yet, but the C2C principles inspired some general 6
ideas. At first these thoughts raised more questions than solutions. We asked the market how a building could improve the indoor and outdoor air quality. We also investigated if it was possible to find producers who would take back their products for recycling. Returning products after their lifecycle for recycling was fundamentally new to the market six years ago. We also used this period of market consultation to encourage producers in the construction industry to innovate and certify for Cradle to Cradle application”. An integrated design process was essential to achieve the level of Cradle-to-Cradle integration that the municipality had envisioned. The architects therefore selected a design team, based on their Cradle-to-Cradle vision and motivation. “This allowed us to start with the right mindset and combination of expertise”, Goverde explains. The team started the preliminary design phase with a one-week pressure-cooking session. The translation of the C2C philosophy proved to be a challenge during the preliminary design process. The team decided to organize a four-day Cradle-to-Cradle workshop, facilitated by Braungart’s institute. “The workshop further clarified the C2C principles and exemplified the need for better focus in the project”.
“The meetings were essential to ensure the holistic and integrated approach for the design and to examine what contribution the market could have to realize the municipality’s ambitions.” Together with the C2C ExpoLAB, the design team formulated measurable goals and roadmaps. “These roadmaps were essential in the design process and future of the building”, Goverde says. “These roadmaps contain the desired results, milestones and key performance indicators. They function as a framework for further development of the city hall as they describe selected elements for future innovations and improvements”. Next to the general project team meetings, all the different stakeholders within the design team came together every month to monitor the continuity and synergy between the disciplines. “The meetings were essential to ensure the holistic and integrated approach for the design and to examine what contribution the market could have to realize the municipality’s ambitions”.
â€œThe newly built city hall will be an exemplar building for sustainable, comfortable and healthy working environmentsâ€?
City Hall Venlo Designed to be sustainable & comfortable “Designing a Cradle-to-Cradle building means going beyond what most people conceive of as sustainability”, Goverde explains. “Rather than mitigating the negative impact of the built environment, the Cradle-to-Cradle concept calls for designs that have a positive impact on the environment”.
“DESIGNING A CRADLE-TOCRADLE BUILDING MEANS GOING BEYOND WHAT MOST PEOPLE CONCEIVE OF AS SUSTAINABILITY.” For the construction of Venlo City Hall, Goverde started looking for materials that are 100% recyclable and thus can be reused again. “We consider the building as a raw materials depot, which still has its value after 40 years. About 80% of the building consists of materials that can be reused in one way or another”. To have a positive impact on air quality, the architects looked for opportunities to purify indoor and outdoor air. “Being located next to a busy road, air quality is a major issue, affecting human health and workforce productivity”, Goverde explains. “At the top of the building air is pumped through a greenhouse to purify the air that enters the building. Together with a solar chimney, the large atrium in the building creates a natural ventilation flow. The 2,200m2 green façade of the building functions as a green lung, purifying the air that exits the building. Research showed that the green
façade will have a positive effect on the air quality in a radius of 500m”. Next to air quality, the architects looked for opportunities to reduce water consumption. “In general, a person uses about 127,5 liters of water a day. Only 4,5 liters of that needs have the quality of drinking water. The rest can be covered by low-quality water”. The building divides water in four separate water streams: rainwater, drinking water, grey water and black water. Rainwater is collected on the roof and is used to irrigate the green façade and to flush toilets. So-called ‘grey water’, such as residual water from sinks, is collected in a biological system with a helophyte filter. The water is then reused to flush the toilets. “Unfortunately, a system with algae was not profitable at this scale yet. Such as system is integrated in the roadmap to be implemented at later stages”, Goverde clarifies.
“THE BUILDING FUNCTIONS AS A GREEN LUNG, PURIFYING THE AIR IN A RADIUS OF 500M.” With an energy demand that is 50% below the national requirement, the city council demanded a highly energy-efficient building that should be eligible for an Energy A+ Label. In total, 1000m2 of PV panels are incorporated in the southern façade of the building. An Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage system (ATES), combined with 25m2 of solar water heaters, provide the building with a sustainable system for heating
and cooling. “With these technologies, we cover approximately 50-60% of the total energy demand”.
Sustainability as a profitable business case…
“The municipality of Venlo was willing to invest an extra €3 million in the building if we could show that the additional measures would shorten the payback period”, Goverde explains. “In the area of energy saving measures, such as LED lighting, additional insulation measures, rainwater collection, PV panels and the ATES-system, a return on investment will be achieved after 17 years. Two years after completion of the city hall, the building will start to generate a positive cash flow”.
By looking at the payback period of sustainability measures and their benefits, the municipality adopted a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach. “It is a way to justify certain investments by uncovering the lifetime costs and benefits, instead of looking at the short-term costs only. Profit is not only generated by the hard measures, such as the ATES-system, but also through its soft measures such as an increase in biodiversity and workforce productivity”, Goverde clarifies.
“TWO YEARS AFTER COMPLETION OF VENLO CITY HALL, THE BUILDING WILL GENERATE A POSITIVE CASH FLOW.”
Lessons learned “The impact of a good tender phase is often overlooked by the client”, Goverde says. “Conservative as it is, the construction sector is also able to innovate and to go beyond the sustainability standards. But without a tender that selects parties based on their ideas to reach a certain sustainability vision or certification, parties will not quickly go beyond that standard. Tenders have the ability to stimulate sustainability and innovation in the built environment, but unfortunately it is not often used”.
“TENDERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO STIMULATE SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT”. What hindered the project in Venlo most, however, is the relative infancy of the circular economy and Cradle-toCradle concepts. It is a line of thought that only recently has gained some ground in the construction sector, but at the time of designing Venlo City Hall the concepts were generally unknown. “In future projects it is important to continue challenging the market to identify the materials in their products, and to stimulate circular thinking”. Sustainable design requires an integrated process in which all stakeholders work together from the start. “The intensive one-week pressure cooker allowed us to think about the building holistically. Before starting such a process it is useful to formulate a few primary goals, such as the idea for a building that purifies the air. Formulating measurable goals and creating roadmaps ensures a structured process”.
The total cost of ownership approach in this project provided the team with another €3 million for the application of sustainability measures. Goverde indicatates that short-term thinking is a major barrier for sustainability in the construction sector.
“SHORT-TERM THINKING IS A MAJOR BARRIER FOR THE APPLICATION OF SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS.” “The TCO approach can justify the application of more innovative and sustainable solutions, even if they are more costly. Together with the cheap loan that the municipality was able to get for the additional sustainability measures, it is strange that this method is not used more often”.
structure now, but I would have liked to use more FSCcertified wood. It would have been more sustainable to use wood, but it is also more expensive when compared to concrete. We did use concrete with a high amount of granulate in it to reduce the environmental footprint, but in hindsight we should have insisted more on the use of FSC-certified wood”. Reflecting upon the suitability of the Cradle-to-Cradle approach in the design of sustainable buildings, Goverde sees an added benefit when compared to available certification schemes. “Certification schemes are incredibly useful to make sustainability more tangible. The Cradle-to-Cradle approach, however, works as a design instrument that effectively challenges the market to innovate and look for synergies. Ultimately, this might lead to more sustainable buildings”. <
The architect also illustrates the need for a certain amount of persistency at some point in sustainable construction projects. “At first we planned to re-use the concrete that was collected during the demolishing of the old city hall. Unfortunately, the concrete was too contaminated and could not be reused. We mostly used concrete in the
The importance of a good tender for the acceleration of sustainable construction in the Netherlands is not yet recognized by stakeholders. HANS GOVERDE
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Venlo City Hall is one of the first and few construction projects in the Netherlands that has a clearly defined Cradle-to-Cradle ambition.
Published on Oct 7, 2015
Venlo City Hall is one of the first and few construction projects in the Netherlands that has a clearly defined Cradle-to-Cradle ambition.