10 May 2022 | News
The Dutch magazine Logistiek Vastgoed Nederland 2022 published an interview with Arno Lepoutre of Brocacef and Rinus Verhey of Heembouw about the new distribution center at Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp that is currently under construction. The interview can be read below.
At a unique location on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Heembouw is building a new, multi-channel distribution centre for the pharmaceutical logistics company Brocacef. The building is carefully designed to blend closely with the surrounding natural environment. The strategic location at Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp will allow for efficient distribution in the Amsterdam area, enabling Brocacef to realise a major reduction in CO2 emissions.
Rinus Verhey the head of business premises at Heembouw, the company responsible for the architecture and construction, gave a tour of the site to Arno Lepoutre, the head of operations & supply chain at Brocacef. At the south side of the building under construction, they paused for Vehey to explain in detail. Here he pointed out the Ringvaartdijk, a dyke which is part of the Netherlands’ national network of nature areas, and the wide drainage canal below it. ‘I call this the “marsh pond”, with all the water and reeds. This is where the building is going to merge with the nature.’
This is not the only part of the complex where the building is to blend with nature. On the other side of the building there will be a nature-inclusive parking garage, with a green façade of climbing plants, which will contribute to biodiversity. The garage will be modular so it can be disassembled, which an important aspect of circular construction. The multi-storey design contributes to an intensive use of space.
These construction details demonstrate Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp’s ambitious objectives for sustainability. The business park is a joint development by the City of Amsterdam and Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC), which is drawing up a Value Added Plan in conjunction with the park’s future occupants to realise these ambitions. [see box]
The Brocacef Group serves the business market under the Brocacef brand, and the consumer market under the BENU brand name, which includes 345 wholly-owned pharmacies. The company has deliberately chosen its new location on the outskirts of Amsterdam – close to the motorways and not far from the city of Haarlem – in order to realise its own sustainability goals. ‘I’m extremely proud of this project,’ Lepoutre says. ‘We’ve succeeded in acquiring a unique location. On the one hand it puts us close to our customers, while on the other hand a building like this will increase employee loyalty. It’s a very pleasant working environment, with a lot of light, in a very green, natural environment.’
‘The most important aspect in the choice of this location is what for the sake of convenience we call the “last mile”. We supply a huge population in the area around this building. From here we can serve the whole of Amsterdam, also using SunRiders, which are electric cargo bikes with a range of 100 km and a load capacity of 150 kilogrammes,’ Lepoutre explains. ‘A growing number of consumers are aware of sustainability. They don’t want their medicine to be delivered by diesel vehicles anymore; they want an electric vehicle to deliver to their door, with zero emissions.’
The increasing demand for sustainability is not only coming from consumers. Many cities are also reorganising their urban distribution, says Verhey. ‘Great things are happening. Soon the products will arrive here by lorry and be dispatched, all without any emissions.’
This is also a major public health benefit, Verhey continues. ‘We will be cutting our CO2 emissions by 30,000 kilograms as a result of reducing vehicle delivery distances by 200,000 kilometres at our new location. We’ll be able to plan more efficiently here, because we’re in a strategically smart location. And we’re achieving it by using electric cars and cargo bikes.’
41% lower footprint
The building will qualify for BREEAM Very Good certification on the basis of the 2020 assessment guidelines. This will be achieved partly thanks to the installation of nearly 6,000 solar panels on the roof, solar control glass, and LED lighting with twilight switching. In addition, the grounds will be landscaped with an abundance of plants and trees, and rainwater will be drained by soil infiltration, rather than via the sewers. The building will also be connected to the business park’s shared TES system.
In addition to all the future environmental benefits, a huge reduction in CO2 emissions is also being achieved during construction. ‘As a designer and builder, with our own architectural department, we can make a big difference with our buildings. This is also part of our strategic plan, especially in terms of CO2 emissions,’ Verhey explains. ‘The footprint of this building is 41 percent lower than the norm, taking the Environmental Performance of Buildings score of 1.0 as our starting point.’ Heembouw makes no concessions regarding quality; the requirements remain the same, and only the footprint is reduced, for example by using alternative materials. Sustainability is often associated with higher costs. ‘That doesn’t have to be the case,’ says Verhey. ‘A lot of CO2 is emitted in the production of concrete. We have worked with our supplier on a mix using less cement in order to reduce CO2 emissions. This results in a slightly longer drying and construction time, but it doesn’t increase the cost.’
The new building is owned by GLP, and consists of approximately 2,130 square metres of office space and a 22,450-square-metre warehouse area. ‘There will be 350 people working at this modern fulfilment centre,’ says Lepoutre. ‘It replaces the old distribution centre and the external transport depot in Amsterdam, which we will be closing down. Our omni-channel strategy can’t be achieved from that location, but here it’s possible.’ Commissioning is planned for the summer of 2023.
Collaborating on a Value Added Plan
In terms of sustainability, the development of Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp phase 1 is different from existing business parks. Five sustainability objectives take centre stage: circular construction, climate-proof development, energy-conscious construction, sustainable operations and healthy development.
Yasha Schadee, project manager at area developer SADC, explains the process: ‘We ask our clients to draw up an integral Value Added Plan to give substance to these objectives, while at the same time taking ownership of them. And, of course, we help them achieve this. Together with the SADC Sustainability team, which is affiliated with TU Delft, we guide developers and companies in drawing up these plans.’ Key elements of the plan are making the building green based on the basis of an ecological vision, and promoting the welfare of employees, whom SADC sees as the residents of the business park.
‘As an area developer, our influence is strongest at area level, but less so at plot level,’ says Schadee. ‘So to create a sustainable working environment, we need to collaborate. In 2019, we established a process to achieve this. Because we can only achieve more by working closely with clients who also want to invest in our locations.’
Companies located at Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp currently include Corning Life Sciences, Taylor Guitars, Sanquin, Brinks Cash Solutions, Focus, No-Excess, ANWB and Studio Anneloes.