CTP Office Parks Await a Circular Future. Interview with Stefan de Goeij About the CTP Plans in the Circular Offices Project
CTP is working with the Institute of Circular Economics to transform its offices into circular offices. The pilot project takes place in the Spielberk office complex in Brno. The analysis of waste and material flows, which was the first step of the project, for example, showed that paper towels account for 31% of all waste produced in the office complex and their purchase and disposal in waste management costs the company over half a million CZK per year.
The reason why you decided to join the C office project was to create a pilot project that could then be applied to all of your buildings across Europe. Why did you choose the Spielberk office complex in Brno?
Our headquarters are in Prague and Incien too, so we wanted to do the project in the Czech Republic. Spielberk in Brno is a great place to start a circular office. It is a huge office complex with major tenants. In addition, we have an enthusiastic team of employees in Brno who threw themselves into the project.
What motivated you to decide to pursue circularity in your buildings? Was it trying to save money, produce less waste, become more sustainable or something else?
Your question nicely describes our main motivations, not necessarily in the same order. Most of all, we wanted to learn from our past mistakes, correct them and then copy and use the good practice for the rest of our portfolio.
The study revealed quite a shocking finding to me. Almost 31% of mixed municipal waste is paper towels. Were you surprised too?
Yes. Especially when I realize that there are paper towels in every toilet I go to. That’s a lot of waste. We are currently working on a tender for hand dryers. Not just for Spielberk, but also for our other buildings. We choose from jet dryers that use a strong stream of cold air to dry hands. Because they do not heat the air, they consume less energy. The circular function is not only about waste, but also about energy.
After towels, it comes second in terms of the potential for improving the sorting of biodegradable waste. How do you plan to deal with biowaste?
We are currently looking for the possibility of setting up compost and composting on site. If not, we will arrange a collection company to take the waste to a composting plant or biogas plant.
Waste analysis has shown that if waste produced in offices is better sorted, mixed municipal waste production could be reduced from 302 kilograms to just 55 kilograms per year. Did you expect such great potential for improvement?
They did not expect, like paper towels, that number opened our eyes.
At the same time, waste is officially sorted in the offices, but probably not enough, as the study showed. How could sorting be improved?
According to the study, it is very important to improve sorting that our tenants begin to sort out fairly. That is why we are now starting with a training platform that will educate the tenant, mainly using good practice examples.
We are also thinking about offering tenants that we will take care of sorted waste bins and their collection. So we can see if there are enough baskets and they are in the right places. It is also difficult to see cleaning companies dispose of the sorted waste in the proper trash bins. If we had only one firm with clear instructions, it would be better.
Do you think tenants will like this change?
I believe so. I know our tenants would like to sort waste and join our initiative.
In order for employees in the office to sort waste, it is important that the waste bin is only where the waste bin is also sorted. If everyone has a basket under the table and can only be sorted in the hallway, the chances of the employee picking up and sorting out the waste are small. Are you considering removing trash from the office?
First we have to find out if this is a realistic solution that the tenants would agree to. If so, let’s get started.
Working with employees is really important for circular offices. About 5,000 people work in Spielberk, how do you plan to involve them?
We are currently working on creating an educational platform that I have already talked about. We would also like to organize training seminars that would bring our efforts closer to our employees.
The study proposed several changes in the field of energy and water conservation. But these changes are harder to make on a larger scale, because buildings are already standing and implementing all the changes would require major investment. But CTP has many similar complexes all over Europe and some are still planning to build. Will you use the study advice to build them so that they are circular, not only in waste sorting, but also in hard infrastructure?
Certainly. And not only what we learned from this study. We are currently in the process of certifying BREEAM In-Use for our entire portfolio, which should give us insight into possible improvements to our future development.
The study proposes a number of measures. What will be your next step?
We have already taken some steps – paper towels will disappear from our buildings soon. At the moment we want to focus mainly on waste sorting.
Do you think it will be a successful pilot project? Can we expect all CTP buildings to become circular?
I believe that the project will indeed succeed. We have the right mind set and we all understand why it is important to seek circularity. If all CTP buildings are circular, bright tomorrow awaits us. But we still have a long and difficult journey ahead of us.
Translated from the original Czech article “Kancelářské komplexy CTP čeká cirkulární budoucnost. Rozhovor se Stefanem de Goeij o plánech developerské firmy v projektu Cirkulární kanceláře,” on Zajimej.se, 15.1.2020 https://zajimej.se/kancelarske-komplexy-ctp-ceka-cirkularni-budoucnost-rozhovor-se-stefanem-de-goeij-o-planech-developerske-firmy-v-projektu-cirkularni-kancelare/