Sustaining cultural heritage

Scattered across the Netherlands are national monuments that represent cultural heritage and that serve as a reminder to preserve our current environment. As necessary as it is to protect cultural landmarks, it is equally necessary to examine how we can refurbish these landmarks to become a sustainable part of our society. In 2009, the opportunity came to renovate the historical office building in Baarn, The Netherlands, from the inside.

Triodos Vastgoedfonds has the property in its portfolio and it invests in sustainably constructed or managed property and monumental buildings. The monument would become the first of its kind to achieve the maximum sustainability criteria and retain its historical authenticity. Through combined effort with the tenant, AT Osborne, the national monument was granted a green certificate by the Ministry for housing, regional development, and the environment.

It is equally necessary to examine how we can refurbish these landmarks to become a sustainable part of our society.
Guus Berkhout, Fund Manager of Triodos Vastgoedfonds

About the monument

The monument and current office building on Kennedylaan is a protected national monument in province Utrecht city of Baarn. At its current state, it dates back to the early 1900s; however, the estate was founded in the mid to late 1700s and has had several owners, including a sea captain, prince, baron, and tobacco merchant. Its distinct history and the desire to preserve the historical quality of the monument led to unique innovations in heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Green certification

Motion detector lighting was added to increase energy efficiency and single pane windows were replaced by windows with better insulation in addition to replacing insulation in the floors, walls and roof in order to trap the heat in the winters and keep the rooms cool in the summers. Water-saving faucets and toilets were also installed to reduce water consumption.
From an environmental perspective, the opportunity to renovate the monument was particularly appealing as it was an optimal way to use materials without having to demolish and rebuild it.

The monument sparked a new trend and discovery in refurbishing landmarks to meet sustainability criteria.
Guus Berkhout

Overall, the building was able to reduce gas consumption by 66%, CO2 emissions by 26%, and total energy costs by 25%. With the improvements, it is now more comfortable for tenants and users of the building. The refurbishment has also made the building more attractive for tenants to rent and investors find it interesting because of the low energy consumption, excellent indoor climate control and it’s aesthetically pleasing.

A new development

While a percentage of Triodos Vastgoedfonds' portfolio consists of office building renovations, the monument sparked a new trend and discovery in preservation by refurbishing landmarks to meet sustainability criteria and subsequent certification.This project laid the groundwork for other sustainable renovations, thereby taking the ‘sustainability’ theme to real projects beyond housing and office development.

By combining low vacancy, steady yields, and a zero-emission portfolio, the fund has become a model of sustainable success in the Dutch real estate sector. Our exceptional expertise in sustainable office renovation is also playing a key role in the move towards zero-energy buildings.

For an overview of our strategies in real estate, please visit the Triodos Vastgoedfonds page