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Render of the development. Credit: Mulderblauw; Render of the development. Credit: Mulderblauw;

QO Amsterdam, Amsterdam

One of the most sustainable hotels in Europe

The design, construction and operation of the QO Hotel Amsterdam is all about sustainability. The vision for the hotel is framed by the motto 'treating life well'.  We led the technical translation to several solutions, such as a green house on the roof where vegetables and herbs are grown and fish is cultivated, a smart façade system based on algorithms and an energy system from waste.

Designed by the team of Paul de Ruiter Architects, Mulderblauw Architects and Arup, the hotel is in the process of becoming the first hotel in Europe to achieve LEED Platinum – an internationally recognised sustainability standard. We were responsible for the sustainability concept, building services and fire engineering.

Project Summary


819 panels intelligent façade

90%energy savingfor cooling

65%energy savingfor heating

Intelligent façade

One of the most visible sustainable aspects of the hotel building is the façade. The position of the 819 individually moveable façade panels respond to the desired room temperature and the outdoor climate. Each panel automatically closes position based on a complicated algorithm, dictated by the creation of an energy balance for each individual room without using additional energy for heating, cooling and ventilation. The system detects when the guest is leaving the hotel and becomes the conductor of the climate system and façade composition, creating a dynamic and ever changing outlook of the hotel. 

QO Amsterdam

The insulating, light reflecting panels are able to limit heat loss or reflect sun light. The transparent floor-to-ceiling windows are designed to be able to utilise passive solar energy. In this case, the climate system is completely turned off and the optimal position of the panels for retaining the temperature balance of the room is calculated based on occupation, individual room temperature, personal temperature preferences, outdoor temperature and sun light.

Photography: ©Ronald Tilleman


Waste becomes energy

We based the sustainability design around a circle of life concept. The circular concept, follows the notion in which waste for one part of the ecosystem becomes food for another. Less visible to the visitor is the energy system of the building, which is based on this principle of closing the circles and utilizing waste streams. Waste heat in summer is collected and stored in a ground source energy system in the ground and pumped back up for heating in winter. The opposite is done during the winter when waste cold is stored for use during the summer. 

Electricity is produced by another local waste stream; locally collected waste frying fat, as the shape and orientation of the building weren't very unfortunate for creating electricity from solar cells. A cogeneration system produces electricity from this fat. The by-product of the electricity production is heat which is used for heating the water for showers, baths and sinks.

Urban farming
The QO restores the circle of life by bringing back the relationship between the city and the origins of local food. The food concept of Persijn, the restaurant in the hotel, is based on Dutch cuisine and uses seasonal and local food products. Some of the food is even harvested in the building itself, on the 21 floor of the hotel, providing a truly fresh and unique local food experience in the restaurant. 

The green house uses aquaponics; this is a system in which plants and fishes (omega basses) are grown together to benefit each other. Excretions from fishes are used as nutrients for the plants and the plants filter the water for the fishes. Once more, the waste from the kitchen is used as fertiliser for the greenhouse. The greenhouse is visible from the bar Juniper & Kin at the top of the hotel. 

The second and third life of water
Water plays another important role in the hotel, for guest requirements of bathing and showering. The water system supports the 'circle of life' principle through a grey water circuit, which uses filtered water from the showers and baths to flush the toilets. The used toilet water is discharged to a separate water purification system of the water company. The water company filters the useful materials from the water, which can induce energy or distill fertilizers. 

Redefining 'luxury'
The QO offers travellers a luxurious stay whilst making a positive impact on the environment. Luxury is defined by authenticity with emphasis on local quality, ethical values and a sincere relationship. Authenticity has found its place in visible and invisible aspects of the hotel. The hotel design based around the circle of life pays close attention to its spatial relationship with the city. The use of local products and materials strengthens the ties with the city in a sustainable way. The QO Amsterdam aims to make its guests curious while inspiring them to make a positive impact on the environment.