When it comes to urban development, Zuidas is already a pioneer in sustainability. But there are still plenty of projects in the works to make and keep the district as sustainable as possible. Tom van Es, Program Manager Zuidas Sustainability, Water and Green, and Eline Kik, director of Green Business Club Zuidas, outline where Zuidas stands now and point out key factors in greening the district.
With most of its building stock qualifying as ‘young’ – less than twenty years old – Zuidas can potentially provide a model for other districts across the Netherlands. Zuidas boasts energy-neutral buildings, buildings with green and blue roofs and buildings with vertical planting. An ‘Ambition Plan’ (Green Business Club Zuidas Ambitieverklaring 2021-2025) drawn up and signed by 55 organizations in Zuidas this past spring, sets sustainability goals for the district. Tom explains: “The City has made additional funds available for green landscaping and expanding water storage capacity in this vulnerable area with lots of paving. In public spaces, you can see this in the development of the Boelegracht, the Knowledge Quarter and Prinses Irenestraat.”
That certain features of the district can serve as a model certainly doesn’t mean developments here have stopped. According to Tom, one of the main ambitions right now is to take Zuidas off natural gas. “Big strides are being made at various levels and we’re hoping to get the district completely off natural gas by 2025. Ultimately, the goal is for Zuidas to be energy neutral by 2030. For the buildings that are here already, this will entail major overhauls to make them sustainable. Given the complexity, that will take a while to accomplish.” Green Business Club Zuidas actively stimulates and assists organizations to prioritize sustainability in their operations. “We support companies in Zuidas towards developing sustainable working methods and implementing them in the best possible way”, Eline says. “This includes initiatives like the zero-waste ambition, switching from natural gas and heat-cold storage.”
When it first started, Green Business Club Zuidas focused mainly on organizing and implementing projects. Now, ten years on, monitoring those projects’ progress is just as crucial, Eline says. “This September we’re launching the fully optimized version of our dashboard, showing how all participants together are coming along on the sustainability front in the Zuidas area. For more information, please visit our website: gbczuidas. nl.” Organizations that are interested in sustainability can always consult the district platforms or join any one of GBC’s projects. Tom: “I encourage everyone to pop out on their lunch breaks and take a little walk around to see all that’s been accomplished!”