BREEAM, WELL and the Benefits of a Truly Green Building

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a priority for many organizations, especially now that the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is in effect, requiring large companies to disclose their Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) policies. To meet the necessary criteria, numerous measures are being implemented to check all the right boxes. Solar panels? Check. Electric vehicle fleet? Check. Double-sided printing? Double check. For new constructions, buildings are being designed to be circular, climate-neutral, energy-efficient, and nature-inclusive. There are various ways to achieve your Sustainable Development Goals.

To ensure compliance with the right standards, certifications from institutions like BREEAM, WELL, LEED, and DGNB can be obtained (with BREEAM and WELL being the most well-known in the Netherlands). Achieving these certifications allows you to proudly demonstrate that you are reducing CO2 emissions, managing resources and waste responsibly, and accelerating the energy transition. However, often something is overlooked. Methods like BREEAM and WELL do not consider planting as an essential component, despite its potential contribution to meeting the necessary criteria.

The Importance of Sustainability Certificates

Organizations and governmental bodies have always needed to measure the goals they set, whether they are financial, social, or sustainable KPIs. BREEAM and WELL are internationally recognized guidelines that help provide insight into the positive impact your organization has on the environment and society. Both certification methods take a holistic view of the well-being of people and the planet.

BREEAM makes the sustainability performance of a building measurable. The acronym stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. Since 2009, they have built a strong reputation, and this sustainability certification has become indispensable in the Dutch construction industry. They assess the impact that (the construction of) a building has, considering energy and water consumption, materials used, waste, and transport.

WELL focuses more on the users: what impact does a building have on people? Their scientifically validated method allows organizations to create healthier spaces. There are eleven themes that promote health: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, comfort, sound, materials, mental health, social health, and innovation.

Truly Green Buildings Do More

BREEAM and WELL are tools to achieve a goal, namely to make a building more sustainable, social, and healthy. However, achieving the right checkmarks often becomes a goal in itself. As a result, you can meet the criteria of BREEAM and WELL without incorporating real greenery, which is a missed opportunity.

Planting is a nature-based solution with a positive impact on various aspects of the BREEAM and WELL criteria. It provides cleaner air, helps make buildings more energy-efficient, and promotes the health of the building’s users. But good planting does much more. It makes the environment more climate-adaptive, increases biodiversity, and fosters social interactions.

A great example of a building that goes beyond just meeting the BREEAM criteria is the Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam, for which we created the Maaskantpark. This 100-meter-long park in the open interior space of the GHG is an oasis of tranquility and biodiversity, enjoyed by both tenants and the local community. In 2023, GHG was the first national monument in the Netherlands to receive a 4-star rating from BREEAM-NL, and in 2024, it was nominated for the BREEAM People’s Choice Awards. Thanks to the Maaskantpark, GHG excels not only in categories like energy, transport, waste, and pollution but also in well-being and health.

Comply with CSRD and Benefit from Attractive Subsidies

Starting in 2024, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is in effect. This directive requires large companies to report on aspects such as CO2 emissions and social policy, but also the impact on biodiversity. The directive aims to create a clear standard and promote transparency. The more you comply with the guidelines, the better. Truly green is a nature-based solution that scores well on biodiversity, energy consumption, reducing CO2 emissions, and improving the (mental and physical) health of your employees.


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Moreover, there are significant subsidies and tax benefits available if you choose a truly Green Building. With the Environmental Investment Allowance (MIA) and the Arbitrary Depreciation of Environmental Investments (Vamil), you can invest in environmentally friendly business assets and techniques with tax advantages.

So, fill your office with real plants, green your outdoor spaces, and insulate your walls with climbing plants. This does not only create a much more beautiful work and living environment, but it also increases biodiversity, improves climate adaptation, and promotes social interaction. These benefits also lead to financial advantages: property values rise, vacancies decrease, climate damage is prevented, and employees become more productive.

Interested? Visit Us!

We are happy to discuss how planting can fit into your ESG/CSRD strategy. Our Green Developer Olivia knows everything about BREEAM and WELL. She can help you meet the right criteria in a way that not only gets you the right check marks but also increases biodiversity, happier employees, and financial profitability. So don’t hesitate to contact us and visit us at the Bloemgracht.