From Sixties-style bank branch to ultimate sustainable showcase

ABN AMRO’s branch at Bagijnenstraat 2 in Alkmaar used to be an average bank branch. Until we decided, with the Green Team of sustainability initiative Green Quest, to change it into a sustainable showcase.

The choice for this particular branch was an easy one, as it was ideal for a sustainable makeover. Big (some 5000 m2), conspicuous location, largely obsolete installations and plenty of room for solar panels on the roof.

Completely energy neutral

Using a range of sustainable technologies, ABN AMRO’s Alkmaar branch was made completely energy neutral. Unique in Alkmaar and the wider area. The changes are expected to fully pay for themselves within seven years.

  • Air-purifying roof
    NOx causes smog, acid rain, airway irritation and the greenhouse effect. So ABN AMRO chose Noxite roofing with air purifying qualities. Rain and sun convert toxic NOx into clean air. Every square metre contributes to clean air for twelve people.
  • Always 21 degrees
    By using PCMs (Phase Change Materials) we are able to maintain a constant temperature in the building of 21 degrees. On warm days, these materials absorb heat from the environment and cool their surroundings. On cold days they do the opposite: release heat.
  • Floors with many lives
    Our floor covering is made of old fishnets and recycled carpet. By recycling waste, we follow the cradle-to-cradle principle and help build a circular economy.
  • Lighting only when needed
    Inside the building, there are no light switches. Based on daylight (or its absence) and movement, the lighting turns on and off by itself and cannot be left on unnecessarily.
  • Building waste separated
    By separating waste at source, processing is easier and more effective and a higher recycling rate is achieved. And it makes waste processing a lot cheaper, too.
  • Heat pump replaces gas boiler
    By replacing the gas boiler by a heat pump, which pumps either warm or cold water stored deep underground through the building, ABN AMRO no longer needs to burn fuel for heating. The modest amount of electricity needed to run the pump is generated locally and is carbon emission free.
  • Solar energy
    The building has been fit with over five hundred solar panels, which provide enough energy for 38 households. They have been positioned so they are not exposed to wind, which means no heavy frames are necessary on the roof. The energy output per square metre of solar panel is slightly lower, but the output per square metre of roof space is higher than when panels are mounted in the traditional way.

Bank branch blueprint for further greening

One of the targets in the Energy Agreement between the Dutch Government, NGOs and the business community is to reduce the energy consumption of the total built environment to 62 petajoule between 2012 and 2020. If the lessons of Alkmaar are applied nationwide (both in and outside ABN AMRO), that would take us halfway there.

ABN AMRO is responsible for its own impact. Alkmaar is to be the blueprint for the greening of other ABN AMRO-branches. And other Dutch real estate owners have a right to copy: our relationship managers freely share all the relevant information with the market. ABN AMRO Real Estate is leveraging our knowledge to realise its 2017 targets: thirty per cent of the portfolio with energy label A, 300,000 square metres of unoccupied real estate sustainably renovated and financing for thirty Green Landmarks.

Relevant information