New zero-energy and sustainable building

Three and a half years ago, our family business first came up with the idea for a new, climate-neutral building. After putting our ideas on paper, we hired the Nieuwenhuis construction company to think along with us about the possibilities. Last week, the time finally arrived: we moved to our new building on the outskirts of the industrial area ‘t Lochter III in Nijverdal.

CO2-free building

In February 2016, we came up with the initial ideas for our new building. Three and a half years later, we are finally located in our CO2-free EPC0 building. We wanted a new location where we could work with all our employees in one place and wanted it to be a zero-energy building. We sought advice from the Nieuwenhuis construction company. They mapped out the options for us, designed the building and managed the entire process.

An EPC0 building compensates for the CO2 emissions by generating energy. This does not mean that there is no CO2 emission. We have three small gas boilers, which thanks to the proper insulation of the building, heat the 7000 m2. With the 752 solar panels on our roof, we generate energy and compensate for our emissions. The warm water provision is electricity-based.

Sustainable measures

Installing solar panels wasn’t the only sustainable measure that we took for the new building. There are various other things that contribute to the environment and a pleasant work environment. For instance, the wood that was used for the doors, stairs and reception desk is FSC certified. The tables in our canteen are made from metal combined with mango wood. This wood comes from mango trees that are felled after 8 to 10 years, when they stop bearing fruit. The wood is then used to create furniture, including our tables.

There are even more sustainable measures that we took. The drainage from the roof does not go to the sewage system, but to a nearby pond. In case of fire, this water will be used to extinguish the fire. In addition, we have less travel expenses and CO2 emissions because all our employees are in one location and we work as much as possible with partners and suppliers in the area. Obviously, we also separate our waste as much as possible, such as wood, plastic and residual waste; carton is reused as packaging material.

Social sustainability

Sustainability is not only about protecting the environment; it also concerns social aspects. Our new building also has enough room to offer the 20 to 25 Soweco employees (people with poor job prospects) a nice work place. Here, they have enough room for work activities, such as packing chew bones, filling sample bags, cutting antlers, sticking stickers, etc.

Optimal work climate

We have also tried to create the most pleasant work environment for our employees. The entire building has floor heating. The automatic sunshades also ensure that the indoor climate remains pleasant and that the air-conditioning doesn’t have to unnecessarily blow cold air. There are daylight lamps, electrically adjustable sit-stand desks, sound-absorbing ceilings and we are planning to install green walls. All this makes the work climate as optimal as possible.