The Plus recognised with the highest environmental classification

Our new furniture factory, The Plus, was completed in Magnor, Norway in 2022. Now, as the first project of its kind, the building is being recognised with the highest environmental classification – BREEAM Outstanding.

A BREEAM Outstanding building is defined as an international innovator. In theory, less than one percent of all non-residential buildings should be able to achieve this extremely high classification. However, in practice even fewer achieve this accolade.

When The Plus was launched in 2020, there were no industrial projects in the Nordics that were even close to meeting the requirements for Outstanding. Vestre’s CEO Bjørn Fjellstad hopes the award will inspire others.

“Through this project, we at Vestre have shown that industrial projects can also be global environmental role models and that the industry is part of the solution. We hope we can help to inspire others, so that more follow in our footsteps,” says Fjellstad.

The factory building of the future

CEO of the Norwegian Green Building Council, Katharina Bramslev, believes the award makes Vestre a beacon of sustainability.

“Achieving BREEAM Outstanding is fantastic. I hope this inspires others to think about how they construct and use their buildings, and about what a major impact they have on the climate and nature,” says Bramslev.

“Vestre’s ambition was to create the factory building of the future, while at the same time showing the industry that they can decide how green and attractive industry workplaces will be in the future. By achieving BREEAM Outstanding, Vestre can also demonstrate that they don’t just talk about how they are reducing their environmental impact, they also act on it,” Bramslev notes.

“This shows that Norwegian ambition, knowledge and skill in creating sustainable buildings are world class. The award is a major recognition for the parties involved,” she says.

The value of green buildings, workplaces and new solutions

The Plus is the first, and probably only, factory building in the world that meets the BREEAM certification's strict environmental requirements and standards for safe, healthy and good physical working environments.

On a global scale, the building and construction sector is responsible for around 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In Norway, building and construction activities account for around 15 percent of Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway resulting from exported products are also counted.

“There is considerable potential for the decarbonisation of this entire sector. It is therefore crucial that everyone who orders goods and services imposes requirements on their suppliers. In this way, we can take responsibility for reducing emissions together,” says Fjellstad.

Across the world, construction firms, architects and property developers are now coming under pressure from investors, banks, regulatory authorities, clients and consumers to reduce climate risk and find new solutions to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s exciting that you can now look to Norway to learn and be inspired,” says Fjellstad.

This is BREEAM

BREEAM is an international tool for environmentally certifying buildings.

BREEAM is used in more than 70 countries, and several countries in Europe have gone a step further to develop country-specific BREEAM schemes, including Norway.

BREEAM-NOR is now Norway's most widely used environmental certification for new buildings and major renovations. When construction is carried out in accordance with BREEAM-NOR, this shows that the project has qualities beyond the building regulations’ minimum requirements and that sustainability values have been taken into consideration. A building can be certified at one of five levels: Pass, Good, Very good, Excellent and Outstanding.

The internationally recognised method and calculation for FutureBuilt ZERO is used in the formula. The carbon footprint of The Plus is therefore as low as 6,70 kg CO2eq/m2/year (6,70 CO2 equivalents per square metre per year) – based on FutureBuilt ZERO and with an expected lifetime of 60 years.