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Hive receives ‘outstanding’ BREEAM certification for sustainability


Proudly boasting the world’s highest sustainability rating for buildings

Hive receives ‘outstanding’ BREEAM certification for sustainability

What better way to bring our sustainable living strategy to life than to work in one of the most sustainable multifunctional buildings in the world?

Our pioneering Hive building has justbeen awarded ‘outstanding’ delivery certification for sustainability by the Dutch Green Building Council, responsible for BREEAM assessments in the Netherlands.

However, this isn’t the first time Hive has received top honours. The facility also received ‘outstanding’ BREEAM certification for the design of the building back in 2019. It scored a highly impressive 93.24% in the latest assessment round (for delivery of the building), maintaining its notable status as one of the most sustainable multifunctional buildings in the world. This is also the highest ever score achieved by a building with laboratories in the Netherlands.

BREEAM Outstanding Delivery Certificate

Achieving the world’s highest sustainability rating

Used in more than 70 countries, BREEAM stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method and is the world’s longest established and highly regarded method to certify the sustainability of buildings.

Hive also received two prestigious BREEAM awards in 2019, the year the facility opened. These were the Global Design Award in the Commercial Projects category and the Global Public Award.

Hive truly is a space to be proud of. On top of being one of the most sustainable multifunctional buildings in the world, it also boasts the world’s highest sustainability rating.

Unilever Foods Innovation Centre 'Hive' interior

It leads the way in several key areas:

  • An energy-neutral building that supplies all its own energy and keeps energy loss to a minimum. An underground seasonal thermal energy system, over 1500 built-in solar panels and solar cells embedded in glass panels, along with an emphasis on natural climate control all contribute to highly efficient energy use.
  • Supporting good health and well-being: Hive’s ventilation system ionises and improves air quality by minimising the spread of bacteria, viruses and fungi, while its climate ceilings allow comfortable cooling and heating all in an energy-efficient manner. The building’s design facilitates the careful admission of natural light and encourages people to interact with each other.
  • Flexibility for the future: Sustainable buildings must be flexible, adaptable and expandable. Many of Hive’s spaces can be re-organised and re-purposed without any strain on cooling, heating or ventilation systems. Building elements are designed to be disassembled to allow for re-use in other facilities when no longer required.
  • Material selection and circularity: allbuilding materials were selected on the basis of their source and degree of circularity. The building’s volume is optimised to achieve the largest possible space with as little material as possible. An impressive 95% of the interior consists of recycled parts, including furniture and kitchen appliances. All wood in the building is FSC certified.

Pushing boundaries

Unilever, together with a team of partners and suppliers, really pushed the boundaries of sustainability and innovation when conceiving and planning the Hive facility. The goal was to create a building that conveyed and gave physical form to Unilever’s sustainability goals, values and standards.

That has certainly been achieved, empowering the teams at Hive to reach our key aim – to make a positive impact on the global food system.

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