Elementary School in Venlo - De Zuidstroom

  • About the project

    A new elementary school will be realized in Venlo that is entirely inspired by the Cradle to Cradle principles. Both the high sustainability ambitions of the city of Venlo and the school board come together in this school, De Zuidstroom. The school will not only apply the circular approach in the realization of the school, but also in the education of the children. The construction work will start in 2015.

    Schools in the Netherlands are on average 38 years old and do no longer meet all the needs of the educational institutes. Elementary school De Zuidstroom wants to distinguish by a pleasant, healthy and safe learning- and working environment for children, teachers and local residents.

    C2C ambition

    Important starting point for the design is to create a healthy school with good indoor air and the use of safe and healthy materials. Air quality in existing schools is in fact worrying. In the design, the importance of a healthy and safe indoor environment is key, which will have positive effects on health, performance and functioning of children and teachers.

    The new school will make maximum use of renewable energy and the building itself will generate renewable energy. In addition, the school will be designed in such a way that classrooms are flexible and can be used outside school hours. The school should have a pivotal role in the neighbourhood. 

    Building as learning instrument

    The school itself should be a learning tool for children, teachers and the local residents. It is important that Cradle to Cradle inspired elements and materials are visible on both the inside and outside of the building. This will increase awareness in the field of sustainability. The school will act as a C2C-inspiration where children learn to do good things for people, environment and economy. 

    The Design

    Along with the design team, the C2C ExpoLAB translated the C2C ambitions into the procurement process and the design. By doing so, Cradle to Cradle became an integral part of the design. Good cooperation between all the involved parties is essential. Also the end-users were involved in the design process: employees from the primary school, child care and afterschool care.

    Indoor green and textile air ducts

    A healthy indoor air quality will not only be achieved through a technical installation, but also by natural systems such as indoor green and textile air ducts for optimum air distribution. The effect of, for example the green inner wall, will be monitored during the use time. The school itself will generate renewable energy and a maximum response of natural daylight.

    Material Use

    The building design provides a wide scale of materials which are designed to eventually return in a cycle. In total 21 materials contain a Cradle to Cradle certificate. The benefit of these materials is that these are safe and healthy, and even have positive effects on the ambitions of the school. For example, a ceiling with acoustic absorption (C2C Silver), carpeting for improving indoor air quality (C2C Silver), and roofing to reduce energy consumption (C2C Silver).

    Beside the use of safe and healthy materials, also the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach is important. Materials are assed for their impact on the operations, but also agreements with producers are made about taking back their products at the end of its useful life. The design foresees in innovative solutions that contribute to the defined C2C goals and ambitions.

    Embedment of C2C in tender documents

    The tender formulated a question to the market, including the detailed design, construction and maintenance of the school. Entrants were invited to distinguish themselves in the field of Cradle to Cradle an sustainable innovation. Total Cost of Ownership was an important requirement from the Cradle to Cradle perspective. Bidders were asked to formulate a vision and a focused approach that gives maximum substance to the Cradle to Cradle ambition, including realistic quality improvements. TCO and C2C are important elements in the plan. The contracting authority has appointed a number of features that are not in the basis specs, but fit into the defined ambitions. The tenderer who add extra quality to the design, within the specified price, is awarded.

    Recently the contractor has been selected and will start soon. The expected final completion is the end of 2015. The principal reflects. Dick van Tulden, Syntegraal, on behalf of the principal: “The C2C ExpoLAB played a crucial role in the translation of the Cradle to Cradle principles into usable and practical design requirements.”


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