50+ Years of Innovation: Stichting Bouwresearch’s Impact on Sustainable Construction

Stichting Bouwresearch's

Stichting Bouwresearch, also known as SBR, is an innovative research organization advancing sustainable building practices in the Netherlands. For over 50 years, SBR has conducted cutting-edge research to create eco-friendly construction solutions. Their work spans developing new materials, evaluating technologies, formulating standards, and advising governments. This article explores SBR’s history, research focus, projects, and impact on sustainable construction.

What is Stichting Bouwresearch?

Stichting Bouwresearch's
Stichting Bouwresearch’s

Stichting Bouwresearch is a Dutch foundation dedicated to spearheading research in the construction industry. Founded in 1958, SBR brings together experts across engineering, architecture, design, and science. Their goal is to pioneer methods, products, and best practices for sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

Headquartered in Rotterdam, SBR collaborates closely with universities, companies, and institutions. They are an independent, not-for-profit organization funded through government subsidies, project sponsorships, and industry memberships. SBR’s research guides the Dutch construction sector while also influencing international building standards.

Major Research Areas of Stichting Bouwresearch

SBR conducts research spanning the following key areas related to sustainable construction:

Energy Efficiency

Developing technologies and standards to minimize energy use in buildings through insulation, heating, ventilation, lighting, and smart controls.

Materials Innovation

Creating and testing recycled, renewable, non-toxic, and durable construction materials with a low carbon footprint.

Indoor Climate

Studying how temperature, humidity, ventilation, and lighting in buildings impact the health, comfort, and productivity of occupants.


Examining solutions for public housing, infrastructure, and urban development to support livable, sustainable cities.

Environmental Impact

Assessing and reducing the ecological footprint of construction through life cycle analysis, circular design, and nature-based solutions.


Leveraging digital tools like building information modeling (BIM) and data analysis to optimize design and construction processes.

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Groundbreaking Projects

SBR has spearheaded many pioneering projects over the decades:

  • Developed the National Environmental Database using big data to benchmark building sustainability in the Netherlands.
  • Created future scenarios for sustainable living and zero-emission buildings in the EU-funded Realise project.
  • Designed Living Labs in Amsterdam to test smart building technologies in real-life settings in partnership with MIT.
  • Invented Sonoblok, is an eco-friendly concrete brick made from recycled glass that stores CO2.
  • Formulated the National Package for Sustainable Reconstruction to rebuild homes after earthquakes sustainably.
  • Launched USER-CHI design guidelines for user-centered healthy indoor environments in offices.
  • Created Smart Blocks prototype using interactive LEDs to make buildings energy-neutral.

International Impact

SBR’s research has influenced sustainability standards worldwide:

  • SBR energy performance assessments shaped the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
  • Their indoor air quality research-informed World Health Organization guidelines on ventilation and humidity.
  • SBR helped develop ISO safety standards for BIM and life cycle analysis standards for the construction eco-impact.
  • SBR climate adaptation strategies were incorporated into UN Habitat’s guidelines for developing countries.
  • The SBR Materials Passport for reusable construction materials was adopted across the EU.

Looking Ahead

As demand grows for sustainable building globally, SBR continues pursuing innovations through collaborations with leading technical universities and industry partners. Ongoing research initiatives include:

  • Developing dynamic thermal insulation materials using phase-change materials.
  • Creating digital platforms to optimize construction value chain integration and data exchange.
  • Designing fully circular, biomimetic buildings mimicking nature’s nutrient cycles.
  • Establishing European sustainability certification schemes for infrastructure.
  • Piloting decentralized microgrid systems for energy-neutral districts.

For over 50 years, SBR has spearheaded cutting-edge research to steer the Dutch construction industry toward sustainability. Their pioneering work on materials, energy, design, and urbanization continues to foster greener, smarter, healthier built environments in the Netherlands and beyond. SBR’s vision and impact provide a model for construction innovation worldwide.

People also ask

What is the purpose of Stichting’s Bouwresearch?

Stichting Bouwresearch pioneers sustainable construction innovations through research on materials, energy, design, and urban solutions for eco-friendly buildings.

Who can apply for funding from Stichting Bouwresearch?

Universities, research institutions, companies, and government agencies doing projects aligned with Stichting Bouwresearch’s mission of advancing sustainable construction can apply for funding.