DHL Parcel, together with regular partners, is building 26 brand new CityHubs throughout the Netherlands, many of them with Hercuton. These are smartly placed sorting centres, from which we deliver quickly and sustainably with short journeys in electric vehicles. We build them according to the highest international sustainability standards: BREEAM-NL Outstanding. What does that mean, you may ask. You're not alone! Because we are proud of it, we are happy to explain it.
What exactly is BREEAM-NL?
Sustainable construction is an important tool against climate change. But what does a building really contribute? And how does it perform compared to the rest? This is what the BREEAM-NL quality mark is intended for. BREEAM-certified buildings burden our living environment as little as possible. And some – those with the highest score – even positively influence their environment. They support the nature around it, generate green electricity and are healthy for the people who live or work there.
Worldwide quality mark in a Dutch package
We want to do our work in such buildings, which is why our 26 new CityHubs are BREEAM-NL certified. In fact, we go for the highest level: Outstanding. BREEAM is a well-known and worldwide quality mark that is independently checked. BREEAM-NL is the Dutch version of it. A building with BREEAM-NL Outstanding therefore meets the highest international sustainability standard. We also build our new sorting centres according to BREEAM criteria, for example in Zaltbommel and Dordrecht.
'DHL Parcel makes the choices that really matter. Not only on paper but also in real life, in terms of material use, facilities and investments', says Matthijs van Rooy, Sustainability Coordinator at Hercuton. That company will build many certified CityHubs for DHL Parcel. 'With the CityHubs, we are going further, much further, than is currently mandatory. All to make the biggest sustainability impact.'
Things you see...
A BREEAM certificate is based on sustainability in a broad sense. It works as a sum, with about seventy parts with which points can be earned. Some things are immediately visible – for those who know what to look out for. Does the tap turn off by itself? Check. Does the light come on when you enter? Check. Is the waste separated? Also check. Each and every one of them concrete interventions that together make a big difference to the environmental impact. The outside also counts: you will find bees and bats or kestrel boxes and flowery verges for the insects. These are specifically aimed at rare or endangered species in the vicinity, in order to support them.
... and that you do not see
But the biggest impact is hidden in the walls and roof of our new CityHubs. From the first stone, they are built on it to keep consumption to a minimum. This means: good insulation, efficient heating and minimal waste of electricity. We don't have to keep spaces where no one is constantly warm. Or to illuminate. Solar panels generate enough power for the entire building – and some extra, for example for electric cars. Smart meters monitor our water use, and where possible we supplement with rainwater. We are not even connected to the gas. The more economical we are, the less CO2 we emit.
The user also counts
Our BREEAM-certified buildings are also healthy for humans. And especially if you come there every day, like our employees. Many interventions benefit people and the environment. Think of accessibility by bicycle or public transport: if we leave the car as a result, it reduces our emissions and we move more. For colleagues who come from far away on the bike, we have changing rooms and lockers. In addition, extra ventilation is provided in the office and the hall, because fresh air is important for everyone who comes to work there.
A quality mark to be proud of
Making society and the economy more sustainable is urgently needed to preserve our planet, and DHL Parcel is working this. But does that necessarily require a BREEAM certificate? The answer is simple: yes, because the quality mark indicates where we stand. And that is – with the highest score for all our 26 new CityHubs – something to be proud of. "Our BREEAM-certified buildings contribute to making our network and the parcel flows that pass through it more sustainable, but also for everyone who works there," says Branko Schuurman, Vice President International & Strategy at DHL Parcel. 'Everything we do has to do with it, especially because so many different points have been incorporated into the quality mark. So it really adds a lot to our sustainable business operations.'
Green building to create green delivery
Moreover, BREEAM-NL fits perfectly within DHL's GoGreen strategy. We are a global delivery company with a leading role in the energy transition. From 2022, all our deliveries will be climate neutral. This was already the case for shipments to consumers a year earlier. We are rapidly expanding our electric fleet: it is now the largest in the Netherlands with vans, rigids and StreetScooters, all powered by electricity. Such a network and such a mission require sorting centres with a BREEAM-NL certificate. We reduce our footprint to the maximum, and compensate for what we still consume. In doing so, we are building a green future, for ourselves and our world.