The European Patent Office (EPO)’s new main building represents the organization’s largest single investment in its 40-year history in the Netherlands. The decision to construct a new building was a result of a firm resolution to provide EPO staff with a state-of-the-art workplace – one that would be sustainable, symbolize the EPO’s commitment to supporting innovation in Europe, and underline its close ties with the Netherlands, and The Hague region in particular.
The project was built under criteria set by the BREEAM-NL (Netherlands) and BNB (Germany) standards for ecological responsibility, energy efficiency, and sustainability, reflecting the innovative character of the EPO. Arrays of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof sky garden provide a source of renewable electric energy to the main power supply, which is then distributed throughout the building. Inside, a double-skin façade houses hanging gardens, containing 300 varieties of plants. The building has an aquifer thermal energy storage system (ATES), which reduces primary energy consumption and related CO2 emissions. The decision to demolish and replace an existing office building was not taken lightly, and the life cycle of the materials was a key consideration. In total, 90 percent of the materials from the existing tower building and its annexes were conditioned and recycled for construction projects, such as road embankments in the Netherlands.