Prof. Anke van Hal

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Nyenrode Business University

Prof. Anke van Hal (1965) is Professor of Sustainable Building at Nyenrode Business University’s Center for Sustainability and Professor of Sustainable Housing Transformation in the Architecture Faculty at TU Delft. At Nyenrode, she concentrates on how to integrate sustainable construction into the marketplace, while the current problems in relation to existing housing stock and neighbourhoods are her main focus in Delft. Before she became a professor, Van Hal ran her own consultancy which also specialised in creating a demand for sustainable construction. In addition to a technical background in architecture, she was also a journalist for many years, including ten years as editorin- chief of the technical journal Puur Bouwen (‘Pure Construction’, which was previously called Duurzaam Bouwen (‘Sustainable Construction’) as well as three years as editor-in-chief of the consumer magazine Puur Wonen (‘Pure Housing’). Van Hal has written a large number of books and articles about her area of expertise and she is also a member of various working groups and committees.

‘Collaboration within a group such as BAM as well as throughout the entire construction process supply chain is absolutely crucial if the switch to a sustainable built environment is to be successful. The economic crisis is the ideal time to act in this regard, because change is necessary anyway, so why not make the move to sustainability immediately? More and more people are looking to reduce their dependence on energy, water and raw materials which are becoming increasingly scarce. Anyone who believes that the sector can continue as it was in the wake of this crisis will miss the boat. Competing on price is no longer the only way to go. Alternative business models – in part based on operating sustainably – are an absolute must if you want to be successful and stand out from the
competition.’

Prof. Anke van Hal is Professor of Sustainable Housing Transformation in the Architecture Faculty at TU Delft and Professor of Sustainable Building and Development at Nyenrode Business University’s Center for Sustainability. BAM sponsors the chair at Nyenrode Business University. ‘Financial support from the business community is essential for a private university such as Nyenrode. It enables us to maintain our scientific depth. In exchange, BAM is among the first to gain access to newly acquired knowledge.’ Van Hal: ‘Sustainability is not some hype that is going to blow over. Fortunately, more and more people are recognising the need for change. It is important within an organisation to give these innovators the scope to develop their ideas.’

Current topics

If BAM wants to be a leader in the switch to sustainable solutions, the professor believes the focus needs to be on a number of current topics such as making the existing housing stock more sustainable and tackling the issue of (i.e. finding a new use for) empty office space. ‘Even in the education sector, there is still too much focus on new build when it comes to sustainable construction, in spite of the large number of existing homes – including some built in the sixties and seventies – that are in need of attention. Companies capable of developing smart solutions to tackle this issue will increase their commercial opportunities.’

Crucial step

‘Collaborating in a smart way is a crucial step on the road to sustainability. It starts with managing the construction process. The money you save by reducing excess consumption can be invested in sustainability measures which must then have a positive effect on more than just the environment so that you kill two birds with one stone. My prediction for 2020 is that successful construction companies will only be able to stand out based on quality, which includes sustainability, rather than on price. If this aim is to be achieved, they need to take steps now. That means increased transparency in the supply chain, for example. Fortunately, we are already seeing this start to happen. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought it possible that the young professionals at BAM and other construction companies would have such open discussions with their managers.’