First Cradle-To-Cradle Business Park In The Netherlands

c2c, climate change, building, architecture, greenhouse, business park, McDonough

The American architect William McDonough + Partners, founder of the cradle-to-cradle concept, developed a new full service business park with 13 offices, greenhouses, sport facilities and more

Let us introduce to you Park 20 | 20, the Netherlands.

This business park is completely developed, using the principles of cradle-to-cradle or green, circular architecture

This new business park involves: circular buildings, with extra attention for human dimensions. 

The developing process is much more complicated, but very successful. 

Our system functions as an economic weapon because we show that we can make money out of buildings, with a new system for a sustainable future.


The crisis hit hard in the construction world. Building Contractors stopped because of their bankrupt or they have to work below costs. In all Dutch regions, offices remain empty. But then, there is Park 20 | 20 – Amsterdam. With a new cradle-to-cradle, circular system, this park is successful. The whole project is 92.000 m buildings plus a hotel of 18.000 m: An investment of 350 million euros. The construction started in 2010 and will be completed in 2020.


Developer Zachariasse (Delta Development Group) thought of the crisis as an opportunity.

“Actually, the crisis is a blessing in an industry where all margins disappear and everyone is under pressure to survive. We noticed that people started thinking: … Maybe we should work different. This new thinking helped us tremendously. As a developer, Zachariasse only wants durability and quality. For the buildings, and for the people who are working in it.

Slow food

Part of the project is that the buildings are constructed, taking care of the entire supply chain. Food is one of that supplies. That’s why Zacharisse has built a number of greenhouses. He contracted a farmer who cultivates the food in the greenhouses, which is then delivered to, and served at the restaurant.
The greenhouses are heated with gas from the waste water purification system. So he has organized a cycle that benefits human and the environment.

Cradle-To-Cradle revolution

Zachariasse built the whole park with the idea that all materials should be cradle-to-cradle, because this concept eliminates waste. Closing cycles for materials, energy and water.

It is not a matter of less consuming. It is a revolution. During the designing period you have to reconsider that all materials can be reused.

All buildings are designed so that they can be taken apart again.

  • The furniture is refurbished and reused. Instead of furniture that disappears at the dump, it is given a second life.
  • The wood is treated with vinegar (no chemical coating), so the wood can be returned to nature safely.
  • 75% of the used concrete and steel are recycled material. Also, 30% of material is saved by using hollow floorings.
  • To much light was a problem in the Atrium. This problem is solved using solar cells which are integrated in the glass. The solar cells are providing enough shadow and renewable energy as well. By combining the budget of the glass with the budget of the solar panels, this solution was quite profitable.
  • All materials represent value. Therefore arrangements have been made with the manufacturers and suppliers of the materials. They remain owner of the materials and take them back at the end of the term.
  • The business park is developed with a central, integrated energy system, using solar and wind power.
  • Waste water treatment: a grey water system for rainwater is providing water for toilets and irrigation and energy is collected from the waste water.

The materials are the databases of the future. That means that you:

  • have to design considering that all materials can be taken apart
  • you need to create a database, knowing what material is where in the building

Scarcety of raw materials

If you follow this process, you have something very valuable. Demolition costs are on average of $ 50 per m2. These buildings gain more than $ 80 per m2, based on the materials and components that will be taken apart again. When you consider that material prices will rise, becoming scarcer and that the worlds population is growing daily with 250,000 people, it’s not rocket science to realize that the costs of materials will rise in the future. The next years, a materials database is a very good economic model.

Quality first

Zachariasse uses a very different way to involve its suppliers and manufacturers during the construction process:

  • They are not providing their products and then move on. He makes them jointly responsible
  • The suppliers are involved during the design phase
  • And instead of asking: “This is what we want, give your lowest price.” They are told: “This is your budget, give your highest quality! And tell us what your product can do for the overall quality of the building.”

This approach led to teams and mobilized knowledge.

Of course, this approach requires leadership and confidence but the result is that we realized a lot of innovations during the processes. There is more. The costs of failure during construction have been much lower because the industry was involved. They could tune their production to the delivery, avoiding a delay. And all suppliers earned a good living.

Park 20 | 20 goes international

All the finished buildings are occupied. And the buildings that still have to be realized, are already fully rented. Additionally, developer Zachariasse is now involved in business parks in Germany, the US and Denmark. Just because he has chosen for quality and durability.

Making the world a little prettier, smarter, cleaner and more social. That is the purpose of this dissent.


Lessons learned from earlier C2C projects

  1. Stimulate product innovation by engage with product suppliers
    Suppliers of products which almost require to cradle-to-cradle standards, were offered to be a preferred supplier if they would develop their future products to C2C certified products.
  2. Suppliers of building materials and elements are aware of the growing scarcity of raw materials. They want to guarantee a final value for materials. This means that a sustainable building always has a value, because of the used materials – even with dismantling – represent a value.


Have you seen this?

Inspiring, green, circular architecture (dossier)

Circular economy: cheaper resources, more jobs (dossier)

MegaCities: challenges for mayors, engineers and planners (dossier)

Trending renewable energy technologies and initiatives (dossier)

BetterWorldSolutions helps you to find high qualified leads and sales partners



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