Julie Fuchs, Stijn Schoonderwoerd en Rudy van der Helm tijdens de Oper! Awards 2024 met het BREEAM-NL certificaat
Photo: Michel Schnater

Dutch National Opera & Ballet secures high new BREEAM-NL sustainability rating

30 January 2024

Dutch National Opera & Ballet (DNO&B) has been awarded a new BREEAM-NL certificate for its Production Workshop. The theatre adopted the BREEAM-NL method in 2019. BREEAM is an international method of assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings and the built environment. 

In 2019, DNO&B was the very first theatre in the Netherlands to be awarded two BREEAM-NL certificates, with both the theatre building and the Production Workshop being rated ‘Good’. While this was a great result at the time, the Production Workshop managed to achieve a ‘Very Good’ rating in 2023, despite stricter assessment criteria. This marks a 20% improvement in our overall rating from 2019 to 2023.

BREEAM-NL focuses on actual energy use and its ratings are a reflection of how a building’s environmental performance aligns with the international climate goals. The rating improvement is a testament to DNO&B’s commitment to its sustainable ambitions. 

BREEAM-NL is developed and managed by the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC), a national civil society organisation committed to accelerating the future-proofing of the built environment in the Netherlands. The new certificate was presented to DNO&B by Rudy van der Helm, Development & Programme Manager at DGBC. Stijn Schoonderwoerd, General Director of DNO&B, took receipt of the certificate, saying:  

‘This certificate stresses the importance of embracing a future-proof mindset and serves as a tangible recognition of our sustainability efforts. Dutch National Opera & Ballet takes its social responsibility very seriously and – with this certificate – hopes to inspire other cultural institutions to do the same. We will continue to challenge ourselves to reach our sustainability goals, aiming to achieve a 55% reduction in our carbon emissions by 2030.’

A holistic approach 

DNO&B has made sustainability strides in the realms of employee vitality, mobility, and use of energy and raw materials since 2019. In the BREEAM-NL category ‘Land Use and Ecology’, for instance, DNO&B achieved a 33% rating improvement from 2019 to 2023 by promoting biodiversity and enhancing the ecological landscape of the outside space surrounding the Production Workshop. By way of the BREAAM certificate, these sustainability measures have now been acknowledged as game-changing, emphasising the importance of coming at sustainability from different angles. 


Production Workshop awarded with Exemplary Performance Point

The roof of the Production Workroom has been outfitted with 2,000 square metres of solar panels, which are hooked up to the district heating system, reducing its carbon emissions by some 60% per year. DNO&B also promotes sustainable modes of transport and offers its employees green transportation options: they have access to an electric van and electric company bicycles, electric vehicle charging stations are provided, and there is special carpool parking. In dialogue with a city ecologist, a landscape and habitat management plan was created for the outside areas surrounding the Production Workshop. Excess rainwater is stored temporarily in a 750-square-metre landscaped garden to prevent flooding due to rainstorms. The 50 bird-nesting boxes that have been installed onto the building promote biodiversity. With this in mind, BREEAM-NL has awarded an Exemplary Performance Point for DNO&B’s green facilities. The Production Workshop also received an Exemplary Performance Point for its procedures for storing sets and costumes, with particular acclaim bestowed upon its materials recycling process and digital storage system.