Sequel to the interview about sustainable new EMA building

Peter-Willem van Calis, advisor on sustainability and comfort and Bianca Derkzen, technical manager at the Central Government Real Estate Agency

A responsible construction site
As mentioned, waste management is one of the themes of the BREEAM methodology. Peter-Willem: "This entails that you have to think carefully about how to handle waste on the construction site. You need a system to separate and dispose of it. BC EMA has engaged certified parties to ensure that this is done in a responsible manner. A sustainable construction also needs site management to take all kinds of measures to prevent inconvenience to the surrounding area as much as possible. It means, among other things, that you think about how you deal with water, noise and electricity. The construction site of the EMA building has earned many BREEAM points and is therefore classified as a 'responsible construction site’.”

The BREEAM quality label
The requirements for obtaining a BREEAM quality label are described in detail. A specially trained inspector determines whether you meet these requirements. The checks are carried out by an independent party. The more points, the higher the label. "Excellent is the second highest," says Peter-Willem. "Outstanding is the highest, but then you have to get more than 85% of the points. That's not very common."

The BREEAM methodology changes with time, so an excellent building from ten years ago is different from an excellent building of today. The bar is constantly being raised. "With the current state of the technology, the EMA building is a highly sustainable building," says Bianca.

Prefabricated construction
The construction of the EMA building makes use of prefabricated elements. "The advantage of this is that they are of high quality and can be built quickly," says Peter-Willem. "There is less waste because the components are not custom-made on the construction site. This also allows you to build in a circular way because you attach the elements in such a way that you can easily remove them without causing a lot of damage."

Bianca: "Look at the facades, for example. The quality of the building is largely determined by the building envelope. This often has a shorter lifespan than, for example, the construction. With this way of working you can easily replace the facades if they are outdated and the building does not need to be depreciated."

A nearly zero-energy building
The new EMA building is a nearly zero-energy building (NZE). Peter-Willem explains what that means: "It has to do with the energy requirement of the building, which is low. It is also about the use of primary energy, i.e. the amount of fossil energy that the building uses and the amount of sustainable energy that is generated for the building."

From nearly to zero-energy
It's only a matter of time before new buildings are zero-energy buildings, says Bianca. "You will then not make use of any form of fossil fuel anymore to supply them with energy. The EMA building is connected to district heating and cooling. "If energy companies put 100% renewable energy in the district heating network, the system will become completely energy-neutral," adds Peter-Willem. "We are now at 50% renewable energy for the new EMA building, and that's already a lot."