With its futuristic curved design and daylight-infused interior it doesn’t look like a typical warehouse.

But the NewLogic III building, an office and warehouse space on the outskirts of the Dutch city of Tilburg, not only boasts a sleek exterior, it has stellar green credentials.

Judged one of the most sustainable industrial buildings in the world, its environmentally friendly features include solar panels that feed surplus energy into the grid, and toilets that flush with rainwater collected from the roof.

Triple-glazed windows and extra insulation help keep the building airtight.
Image: BREEAM

The building – nicknamed “The Tube” because of its cylindrical design – is the Netherlands head office and distribution centre for multinational logistics company Rhenus.

This year it received the highest rating ever for a distribution centre from BREEAM (British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), which rates buildings’ sustainability.

BREEAM, which has assessed more than 569,000 buildings in 83 countries, gave NewLogic III a score of 99.48%.

What is the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact summit?

It’s an annual meeting featuring top examples of public-private cooperation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies being used to develop the sustainable development agenda.

It runs alongside the United Nations General Assembly, which this year features a one-day climate summit. This is timely given rising public fears – and citizen action – over weather conditions, pollution, ocean health and dwindling wildlife. It also reflects the understanding of the growing business case for action.

The UN’s Strategic Development Goals and the Paris Agreement provide the architecture for resolving many of these challenges. But to achieve this, we need to change the patterns of production, operation and consumption.

The World Economic Forum’s work is key, with the summit offering the opportunity to debate, discuss and engage on these issues at a global policy level.

Green by design

The 60,500m² warehouse and office space is airtight with extra insulation. A photovoltaic system on the roof consisting of 11,620 solar panels generates more electricity than the building consumes, with excess power going into the grid, meaning it is both energy and CO2 neutral.

Natural light flooding through large triple-glazed windows reduces the amount of electricity needed for lighting and makes it a more pleasant space to work in.

The building also features a heat pump, automatically dimming LED lighting, charging points for electric vehicles and technology that monitors water consumption and CO2 concentrations.

The Netherlands is building a reputation for sustainable architecture. The Edge, Deloitte Netherlands’ location in Amsterdam, has been hailed as the world’s greenest office space, achieving the highest BREEAM score in its category.

Cities going circular

The Tube and The Edge are examples of a broader trend as designers and urban planners try to build greener, more sustainable buildings and cities.

Whether it be using materials from abandoned buildings when constructing new ones or reducing energy consumption, numerous projects around the world are embracing the concept of the circular economy.

These projects aim to eliminate waste, and reduce, reuse and recycle where possible, to safeguard the environment.

Circular economy

What is a circular economy?

The global population is expected to reach close to 9 billion people by 2030 – inclusive of 3 billion new middle-class consumers.This places unprecedented pressure on natural resources to meet future consumer demand.

A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.

Nothing that is made in a circular economy becomes waste, moving away from our current linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economy. The circular economy’s potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion-dollar opportunity.

The World Economic Forum has collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a number of years to accelerate the Circular Economy transition through Project MainStream - a CEO-led initiative that helps to scale business driven circular economy innovations.

Join our project, part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security System Initiative, by contacting us to become a member or partner.