Floating Office in Netherlands is Carbon Neutral and 'Future Proof'

As people around the world slowly make their way back into the office, staffers at the Global Center of Adaptation (GCA) are experiencing a slightly different commute.

On September 6, the world's largest floating office opened their doors as the GCA's headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR) began construction in 2018 and was steered by the architect team at the Powerhouse Company.

"We work with governments, businesses and communities on solutions to our climate crisis," Patrick Verkooijen, CEO for GCA, said in an email to Newsweek. "Because we not only need to accelerate the transition away from greenhouse gas emissions, but also urgently respond to the climate impacts that are already here and affecting lives and livelihoods around the world, especially in poorer, more vulnerable countries."

Floating Office Rotterdam
FOR officially opened for employees on September 6, 2021. Courtesy of the Global Center of Adaptation

The new headquarters echoes the organization's mission.

The building is "off-grid and carbon-neutral," according to a factsheet from GCA, and was designed to showcase innovative ways to accommodate rising sea levels.

"With its own solar energy source and water-based heat-exchange system, FOR is completely self-sufficient," the statement continues.

"[The office] is an embodiment of some of the solutions already within our reach that we must put into action throughout society if we are to persevere through this planetary crisis," Verkooijen said. "Solutions that are innovative, sustainable and bold."

Everything that went into the construction of the office was intentional and furthers the mission to be as sustainable as possible. Wood was used as an alternative to concrete as doing so saved 1,200 tons of Carbon Dioxide material, according to the organization.

Solar panels extend over 900 square meters of the roof serving as an energy source for the building and a green roof taking up the same amount of roof space helps with rainwater management, noise reduction and keeping the building energy efficient.

According to 2018 data from the World Bank, the Netherlands emitted 8.7 metric tons per capita of Carbon Dioxide — the lowest it had been in over 50 years.

Floating Office Rotterdam construction
Construction for the building began in 2018. Courtesy of the Global Center of Adaptation

In a statement, Verkooijen said he hopes the building will "will inspire others
to future-proof their infrastructure."

"Rotterdam is often called the 'adaptation capital of the world' because of many other innovations in how the city prepares for the impacts of climate change, so we appreciate our partnership with the city in hosting us," Verkooijen told Newsweek. "The solutions to our climate crisis exist, we just need to urgently scale and accelerate them. That lies at the heart of what GCA does, and our office is one manifestation of this."

As many companies had to keep in mind as they welcomed employees into the office after widespread hiatus of in-person work, GCA has kept this in mind amidst their exciting milestone.

"We're obviously managing the return to the office carefully and in line with local guidelines here," Verkooijen said. "But so far the reaction from colleagues and visitors has been incredibly positive."