Oldenburger|Fritom BV, The Netherlands

A distribution centre that is energy & hydrologically neutral

Project Details

  • Scheme & Version: New construction and Renovation Completion phase 2014 v2
  • Certification Stage: Final Stage
  • Rating: Outstanding
  • Overall Score: 97.3%

Project Team

  • Developer / Client: Oldenburger|Fritom BV
  • Architect: Remco Ruimtebouw
  • Building Services: Remco Ruimtebouw
  • Constructor: Remco Ruimtebouw
  • Assessor Company: DuurzaamheidsCertificering.nl

About the Building

Oldenburger|Fritom wants to build a leading position in the area of sustainable entrepreneurship. We aim to play a pioneering role in this. Consequently, we were the first logistics service provider in the Netherlands to be certified according to the CSR Performance Ladder, Level 4. This is the world-class standard for the improvement of processes for the benefit of people, planet and profit (the three Ps).

Pursuant to our company’s motto we want to offer our customers the best logistic solutions, both now and in the future. This means that we provide our customers with innovative and sustainable solutions that ensure future continuity. Therefore, when we decided to build a new distribution centre in Veendam in 2017, it was our goal to build according to the highest possible BREEAM rating: Outstanding. Furthermore, we wanted to act in the spirit of the BREEAM standard by achieving a high score. Next to this, our goal was and is to distinguish ourselves in the market (among others in the field of sustainability). We therefore also decided to renovate our existing distribution centre in Veendam according to BREEAM. We expect to be certified according to the BREEAM rating Excellent for this renovation in 2020.

Another important goal for our new distribution centre was to have no gas connection installed. This is because the nearby area of our premises in Veendam is subject to earthquakes. This is a consequence of the natural gas production in this area for more than 60 years. Due to the continuing uncertainty related to possible earthquakes, the Dutch Cabinet has decided to drastically reduce the gas production in the province of Groningen by 2022. At the same time, both our local government and the national government stimulate building new houses and premises without a gas connection. This was one of the reasons why we decided to build the most sustainable distribution centre of the Northern Netherlands, meaning a distribution centre that is in any case energy neutral and earthquake-proof. By building a distribution centre without gas connection Oldenburger|Fritom wants to fulfil an exemplary role, not only in the field of logistics and supply chain management, but also in the local community.

So far, our dissemination of knowledge and best practice have already led to all stakeholders involved using the knowledge gained for their own projects. On top of that, we have given guest lectures at the Stenden University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, on BREEAM as an international standard in sustainability for commercial real estate. Moreover, the objective within the logistics industry is to cut CO2 emissions by half by 2030. This is a result of the Paris Agreement and the energy agreement in the Netherlands. The goal of Oldenburger|Fritom was to respond to this in the design of our new distribution centre. We decided that our distribution centre had to be not only energy neutral, but also hydrologically neutral. One of the reasons for this is that the Northern Netherlands has been proclaimed Hydrogen Valley by, among others, the European Union. In general, it is expected that hydrogen will become an important energy carrier in the nearby future, not least of all in the field of logistics.

Our new distribution centre is located across the street from our head office and existing distribution centre in Veendam. It is 5,346 m2 in size and 15 metres high with over 15,000 pallet spaces and 6 loading docks. In addition, our new distribution centre consists of cross-dock facilities, a logistics training centre and several office spaces.

We have built an all-electric distribution centre which is fully energy neutral due to the use of energy-efficient heat pumps, LED lighting and a large solar park. This solar park consists of 1,600 solar panels on the roof of our existing distribution centre. In addition, our new distribution centre is also hydrologically neutral. To ensure that the drainage of rainwater to the public sewer system and waterways is delayed, a buffering and infiltration facility is installed on our site. This minimizes the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rainfall. Part of the rainwater is collected in a water tank with a capacity of 10,000 litres. This is used to flush the toilets so that no drinking water is lost.

Why did the building undergo BREEAM certification?

Oldenburger|Fritom is a global logistics service provider, meaning that our customers are located worldwide. Since BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for, among others, buildings, this seamlessly blends in with our international character.

The broad scope – 9 categories – was another reason for us to choose BREEAM certification. Each and every one of these categories addresses an important sustainable value, such as the health and well-being of our employees and the design of energy efficient building solutions. For us, the coherence of the categories encompasses everything that was necessary for building a future-proof distribution centre in this particular geographical area (the Northern Netherlands).

In addition, our choice for BREEAM certification was determined by the fact that it is aimed at both long-term and short-term requirements. The BREEAM assessment method already lays down the requirements during the design phase. At the same time, the quality mark is regularly updated so that it retains its value in the future. If that was not the case, it would be easier to achieve the same score through new technological developments.

Along with our own goals and ambitions in the area of sustainable development, also many of our customers have a strong focus on sustainability and a green strategy. Among them are worldwide market leaders in the food sector and the high-tech industry. They require a logistics service provider that facilitates sustainable business throughout their entire supply chain, not least of all in those links in the chain where their products are stored and handled.

Furthermore, we want to remain an attractive employer for our employees not just today but also in the future. We do this by creating an optimum working environment in the field of acoustics, (natural) lighting, temperature controls, humidity and indoor air quality. By building according to BREEAM our distinctive character is increased, responding to the current shortage of qualified personnel.

Due to the fact that a BREEAM-NL Expert of Remco Ruimtebouw was part of the project team, the construction plans were assessed against the BREEAM-NL criteria from start to finish. As a result, all intended credits were realized in the delivery phase. On top of that, our new distribution centre scored exceptionally high in the BREEAM categories Water (100%) Health & Well-being (97.14%) and Energy (95.83%).


Green Strategy

Our company’s motto is: The best logistic solutions. At the same time, we are faced with sustainability challenges related to the logistics market segment and the developments in the nearby area of our premises in Veendam. The latter are the consequences of the long history of natural gas production in our area. For this reason, it was very important that our new distribution centre had no gas installation installed. Instead of this, we focussed on a sustainable future in which hydrogen is expected to become an important energy carrier.

BREEAM offers a wide range of possible solutions to both long-term and short-term sustainability challenges. This is why have succeeded in becoming the most sustainable distribution centre of the Northern Netherlands, as part of our green business strategy. In practice, this means that we have built a distribution centre that meets the highest international standard for new buildings. In other words, a distribution centre that is, among others, both energy neutral and hydrologically neutral.

By applying the simulation program Vabi Elements Building simulator, Remco Ruimtebouw calculated the temperature exceedances and underruns of our building per room. This makes it possible to adjust the temperature in each individual room to climate installations and to determine the specific energy consumption more precisely.

By appointing an internal BREEAM Coordinator (also BREEAM Expert) within the project team, there was one team member generally responsible for coordinating all BREEAM elements and for monitoring the progress of the BREEAM credits. A monthly action list was sent throughout the entire process and discussed at the construction site with all parties involved. In this way, everyone stayed up to date in regards to the latest state of affairs. In addition, this made it possible to intervene in time if certain activities were not in accordance with the agreements made.


Benefits of Assessing to BREEAM

“Since BREEAM is the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings in the world, it is an internationally recognized quality mark. Because of this, our BREEAM certification has already proven to be of considerable added value in requests for quotations (RfQs) from not only national, but also international customers.” -Frans Andeweg – Manager General Affairs and Supply Chain, Oldenburger|Fritom