In 2022, Vestre’s new furniture factory The Plus by Bjarke Ingels Group was completed in Magnor, Norway, near the Swedish border. Now The Plus will be the first project of its kind ever to achieve the highest environmental classification BREEAM Outstanding.
BREEAM is an international tool for environmental certification of buildings and a BREEAM Outstanding building is defined as an international innovator. Theoretically, less than 1% of all commercial buildings achieve the highest classification. In practice, however, even fewer succeed. The Plus is the first, and probably the only, factory building in the world to meet BREEAM’s rigorous environmental requirements and standards for safe, healthy, and sound physical working environments.
When construction of The Plus began in 2020, there were no industrial projects in the Nordic region that came close to meeting the requirements for BREEAM Outstanding. Vestre’s ambition was to create the factory building of the future – and at the same time show the industry that it is an active choice to decide what the green and attractive industrial workplaces of the future will look like. Vestre CEO Bjørn Fjellstad hopes the BREEAM Outstanding rating will inspire others.
”Through this project, we at Vestre have shown that industrial projects can also be global environmental role models and that industry is part of the solution. We hope to inspire others to follow suit”, says Fjellstad.
Katharina Bramslev is the CEO of Grønn Byggallianse, which works to make sustainability the natural choice in the building, construction, and real estate sector in Norway. She believes that the award makes Vestre a beacon in structural engineering:
”Achieving BREEAM Outstanding is fantastic. I hope this inspires others to think about how they build and use their buildings and their big impact on the climate and nature”, says Bramslev.
All over the world, construction companies, architects and property developers are now facing pressure from investors, banks, regulatory authorities, clients, and consumers to reduce climate risks and find new solutions to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. By achieving BREEAM Outstanding, Vestre can also document that they don’t just talk about reducing their environmental impact, but also act, Bramslev points out:
”This shows Norwegian ambitions, knowledge and competence to realize sustainable buildings are world-class. The award is a great recognition for the parties involved ”. The award is a great recognition for the parties involved.”
Today, the building and construction sector accounts for about 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Norway, it accounts for about 15% of Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions.
”There is great potential for the decarbonization of this entire sector. Thus, everyone who orders goods and services must set requirements for their suppliers. That way, we can take responsibility for reducing emissions together”, says Fjellstad.
BREEAM is an international tool for environmental certification of buildings and is used in more than 70 countries. Several European countries have gone one step further and developed country-specific BREEAM schemes, including Norway and Sweden.
Today, BREEAM-NOR is Norway’s most widely used environmental certification for new buildings and major renovations. When a building is built according to BREEAM-NOR, it shows that the project has qualities beyond the minimum requirements of the building regulations and that sustainability values have been taken into account. A building can be certified at five levels: Pass, Good, Very good, Excellent, and Outstanding.
BREEAM uses the internationally recognized FutureBuilt Zero methodology and calculation. The carbon footprint of The Plus is as low as 6.31 kg CO2eq/m2/year – based on FutureBuilt Zero for a life expectancy of 60 years.
Vestre is one of Scandinavia’s leading producers of urban furniture and has created social, sustainable meeting places for millions of people for over 70 years. Sustainability, locally produced materials, and the least possible environmental impact are pivotal to the company’s furniture production. Vestre is a Norwegian family business, the products are manufactured in Norway and Sweden and are available in almost 200 different colours with a lifetime anti-rust warranty.
The factory in Torsby in Värmland, Sweden was designed by architectural firm Snøhetta, which is behind many high-profile international projects, including the library in Alexandria, the 9/11 Memorial Center in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Oslo Opera House. The firm also designed “The Peace Bench”, which Vestre and Hydro created in 2019 on behalf of the Nobel Peace Center. Vestre has been voted “Brand Builder of the Year” by the Federation of Norwegian Industries and cited as the “Best for outdoor furniture” by the prestigious design and lifestyle magazine Monocle, which has readers worldwide. In 2019, the company was voted “Entrepreneur of the Year” at the Norwegian EY gala. In January 2020, Vestre was awarded their 16th DOGA award by Design and Architecture Norway. The company was given the award for its partnership with Front in the creation of Folk. In February 2020, Vestre was awarded “Best Stand” at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in Stockholm for its sustainable stand, developed together with Note Design Studio.
Read more at vestre.com
About The Plus
In June 2022, Vestre opened the new The Plus Color and Wood Factory in Magnor, Norway. The factory, designed by leading architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, is the most environmentally friendly furniture factory in the world and is also Norway’s largest investment in the furniture industry in decades.
Located in the middle of the Norwegian forests – surrounded by a 300,000 m2 public forest park – the colorful 7,000 square meter factory is a global showcase for sustainable and highly efficient production.
Sustainability, environmental considerations and transparency have been central to exactly every aspect of the factory, both in terms of the building itself and everything around it – from ensuring good working conditions to facilitating electrified heavy transportation and managing the forest areas around The Plus.
The building’s energy consumption is 60% lower than that of similar conventional factories while emitting 55% less greenhouse gases than a comparable factory The factory roof is covered in natural forest vegetation, along with more than 900 solar panels that will generate around 250 000 kWh of renewable energy per year. In addition, the factory will reuse 90-95% of the water used in production. The Plus thus by far meets the Paris Proof target for energy efficiency and energy production.
Learn more at theplus.no