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green week at cepezed: 'we can really make a difference as an architecture firm'

Just like last year, the second week of October is 'Green Week' at cepezed. cepezed's sustainability expert Tatjana Anholts explains how we make a catch-all term like 'sustainability' manageable by unraveling and defining it. Green Week nails us and keeps us on our toes.

Is Green Week a concept at cepezed?
Tatjana: 'Last year was the first edition, so it is not yet a tradition. But the urgency of this subject is certainly shared, even though we already do a lot. With Green Week we increase our knowledge and stay sharp.'

How did the idea for Green Week come about and what is its importance?
Tatjana: "Because of my Breeam certification, I go to the annual Breeam congress. Last year a certain frustration and despondency overtook me. The change within the construction world is happening so slowly! Sustainability is a comprehensive theme. At cepezed, we already do a lot to reduce the use of materials; we have even invented a symbolic unit of measurement for it, 'iq/kg'. Detachability is also an obvious aspect of our designs. We have this knowledge in-house. We think it is important to stay sharp on other sustainability themes as well, so that we can include them early in the design process and there is 1 line. Perhaps most importantly, Green Week motivates us. Because we can really make a difference as an architecture firm, we can influence. Even if it is only a small influence, it is more than you bring about as an individual.'

There will also be speakers from other firms and from other disciplines. As an architect, can you not do without a network if you want to build sustainably?
Tatjana: "A network is important for architects anyway. The client and suppliers also make a difference. Without the Rijksvastgoedbedrijf and builder Du Prie, we would not have been able to build the PI Haaglanden with low nitrogen. And with suppliers it's about the whole chain, that cannot be emphasized enough. With sustainability, so much is interconnected, we can't solve it without cooperation. And it won't work with short-term thinking either, we just need vistas. Something that captures the imagination. External speakers can broaden your vision and offer new insights.'

A metaphorical unit of measurement like "iq/kg" explains well how cepezed approaches sustainability. However, it does not cover the entire sustainability spectrum - we do more.
Tatjana: 'We are currently developing a tool that makes that broad spectrum manageable. We distinguish four sub-aspects that we consider important. It helps to formulate that in advance, it makes the concept clearer, which makes shared information more 'to the point'. So it also benefits communication, both internally and externally. The tool is intended to be used right at the start of the process and to be used throughout the design period, in that sense it is a tool. We are now testing it, improving and refining it. The challenge lies in the connection between all kinds of sustainability aspects. The tool - you could also call it a method - must also make clear what opportunities there are to link themes.'

Do these 4 sub aspects of sustainability come along in Green Week?
Tatjana: 'Yes indeed, the program is even hung up on them. On Monday I talk about the development of the tool. On Tuesday, environmental psychologist Fiona de Vos discusses the influence of buildings on people, i.e. well-being. This is about daylight, which cepezed always pays close attention to, and about safety and health, for example. Wednesday, Jasper Manders, architect at cepezed, tells what he learns from designing the Circular Center Heerde, such as how to approach it when donor materials are provided during the design process. On Thursday, Jan-Willem van de Groep brushes us up on biobased materials, focusing on the challenges of scaling up in practice. We will close the week on Friday with attention to ecology, when Ingrid Sloots (NEST) will give a lecture on the preciousness this requires.'
Overall, are you optimistic?
Tatjana: 'Right after my studies, I worked at another Delft firm on design visions for green-blue cities. I was already working on this during my studies. At the time, the idea of a more extreme climate seemed like something of the future, but now the consequences of climate change are on the news almost daily. There are floods and forest fires everywhere and our cities are getting warmer. It is noticeable that we have done far too little and it is even more urgent to redesign our cities to keep them livable. The knowledge and resources are not lacking.'

Tatjana organizes Green Week together with Ivan Avdić, Sonja Draskovic and Jochem van Berne.

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lucas van der wee
lucas van der wee

cepezed Green Week 2022

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