The Water Tower

“Trendsetter” Desso in the most sustainable office building in the Netherlands

Leading European carpet manufacturer Desso has supplied ecological carpet to an innovative project which has been declared the most sustainable office building in the Netherlands for 2011 – with the company also earning a “trendsetter” accolade in a new book.

Regeneration of the Bussumse Watertoren was completed last year, bringing back into productive life a water tower dating back to the 1880s but which had ceased operation in 1990, and which now incorporates three floors comprising 4400 sq metres of office space.

Forty buildings were submitted for the competition, a joint initiative between a Dutch radio station and the country’s leading engineering trade journal, with the winning Bussumse Watertoren being declared a building which acts “as a clear example for the commercial market’.

The project has an Environmental Building Index (MIG) of 900 points out of 1000, is CO2 neutral, employs geothermal heat storage, its own wind and solar electricity, and natural water capture.

The developers’ commitment to sustainability extended to the building’s interior, with Desso being specified to supply 2000 sq metres of Cradle to Cradle® Silver Certified carpet tiles, incorporating the company’s highly innovative EcoBase® carpet tile backing.

EcoBase® was specifically designed for ease of disassembly, and carpet tiles that incorporate this eco-effective backing can be entirely recycled within Desso’s own production process – making it the ideal carpeting choice for this ecologically advanced project.

Cradle to Cradle® design requires that products are made from pure materials that are safe for human use and can be either biologically or technically recycled at the end of their useful life, with carpets made from nutrients that can be reused in a continuous technical cycle.

The company’s commitment to Cradle to Cradle®  sustainability was the reason Desso developed its new EcoBase® backing, which has enabled it to achieve the world’s first Cradle to Cradle® Silver certification for an entire carpet tile product.

That commitment to eco-efficiency has won Desso the accolade of being among the top businesses to watch, according to Dutch trend watcher Hilde Roothart.  In her book, ‘MOOD11’, she identifies the top trends of the current year, including the global problem of too much waste and pollution – with Desso’s Cradle to Cradle® strategy cited in the book as a working demonstration of environmental responsibility.*

Desso has also implemented a Take BackTM system to ensure that carpet recycling actually takes place; and can now collect old, used EcoBase®  carpet at the end of its useful life and recyle it into new carpet, utilising its Refinity® process that enables the yarn and other fibres to be separated from the backing and which can then each be recycled.

Alexander Collot d’Escury, Desso’s commercial director, said: “This historic building is a fantastic example of how sustainability can reach new levels in today’s office environments. It’s extremely important for us all to spread the word on the incredible, innovative developments that are taking place in sustainable building products and systems, and this award is a great way to raise awareness. Hopefully – through this inspiring location – people will realize that it’s not just achievable, but also practical and good common sense to choose sustainability when creating office environments, no matter how old the original building may be.”


* Along with Desso, the top companies to watch include Ikea, AkzoNobel, Albert Heijn, Apple, Unilever, Patagonia, Vitra and Aveda.

The Water Tower was developed by the Water Tower Bussum Collective (BWC), a collaborative initiative between the Dutch Institute for Building Biology and Ecology, and Vocus Architects.


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