CBRE IM: Confidence and growth for
larger scale projects.

Partnership CBRE Investment Management and TakeAir

The first results of research in New Amsterdam are promising

The partnership with CBRE Investment Management began in November 2022. Recent developments and findings show that both parties are ready for the next step. TakeAir technology is aligned with the vision and focus of CBRE IM, which is searching for disruptive technologies to create indoor environments that are more inclusive, resilient and future-proof.

The first part of the project focused on the microbial landscape of the indoor environment. A high-performance building was chosen in the Bijlmer ArenA region at Nieuw Amsterdam. In the following update, we take an in-depth look at the project at New Amsterdam.

In this update, we discuss:

  • Objectives and required impact
  • Main stakeholders and beneficiaries for the project:
  • The choice of building and location
  • Timeline and commitments
  • Realised Impact & Execution


Evidence continues to show the intertwined function of our human microbiome and its importance in human evolution. Presenting scientific advances to how we can influence microbiomes through the built environment offer a paradigm change in how we view our current and future living conditions. Just as the COVID-19 crisis made us aware of the critical link between our health and our buildings. At TakeAir, we develop ideas and technologies which create a positive impact.

Highlighting the importance of indoor biodiversity and health-generating spaces will push tenants towards critical thinking, and questioning today’s approach to property management. A bottom-up approach can cripple the duplicity of pollution in the construction industry by then offering health technologies to mitigate these negative effects. The disruptive nature of the technology and science presented in this submission also shows scalability for transport, residential and even interplanetary travel. All benefit by reconnecting with nature’s gift which is the human microbiome.

Objectives and required impact

Through exposure to microorganisms our immune system “is learning” appropriate responses to environmental stressors. Moreover, a balanced and biodiverse microbiome ensures resilience and resistance to invasive species. With the New Amsterdam project, we are testing this theory in a real-life environment.

Studies showed a direct link between microbial biodiversity and human behaviour. Yet, the indoor microbiome seen at offices is extremely unnatural with filtered air and cleaning protocols that aim to kill off most of indoor life, leaving it extremely vulnerable to pathogen invasion. Therefore, through the management of an indoor microbiome, this project aims to increase the exposure of office workers to beneficial microorganisms and to create a resilient and biodiverse built environment which in turn contributes to increased productivity and well-being.

The project will provide reliable data to build predictive models linking productivity, indoor microbial landscape, and other IAQ parameters to lower the societal and economic impacts of airborne diseases.

Main stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project

The main beneficiaries of the project include building tenants (employees) as the provided solution has a direct impact on their health and well-being. Next, improved productivity and lower HR costs due to this project benefit employers.

Predictive models and possible resulting disease mitigation strategies will bring benefits to property managers and building owners in the form of higher occupancy rates, increased property perceived value, and additional certification labels (e.g. WELL).

The choice of building and location

Currently, the project takes place in high-performance office buildings in Belgium and The Netherlands (New Amsterdam building). However, the geographical scope of the project is high-rise buildings on a global scale where extreme conditions such as pollution and climate change pose a real danger to the built environment.

The focus lies on high-performance buildings to create even higher standards of quality. The building in New Amsterdam already showed extremely high levels of quality for the indoor air, technical performance and indoor comfort. By introducing microbial balance we set out to raise the bar even higher.

The geographical location also posed an interesting case. Located next to several highway nodes and an international train station the location showed high levels of pollution and low climate resilience. By employing microbial technologies for the indoor climate we want to see how we could mitigate these present and future issues.

Timeline and commitments

The project started in April 2022, and it is divided into three parts. The first part (one year) focuses on indoor microbiome management and its effects on indoor air quality and the native microbial landscape.

The second part (two years) evaluates the effects of microbiome management on employees’ well-being and energy performance in the building. The final stage of the project is devoted to the validation of the results in multiple buildings in different locations (within the next 5 years, depending on the outcome of the first two parts) to build predictive models necessary for risk analysis and action plans.

The first phase of the project ended in April 2023. During this time, important, short-term milestones were achieved, such as the development of protocols to monitor and analyze indoor air microbiomes via DNA and cell-based methods.

A reliable and commercially feasible protocol to measure indoor microbial biodiversity is of great importance as it opens the door to incorporating microbial air quality as a parameter in building certificate programs such as WELL which strongly support well-being in the built environment.

Realised Impact & Execution

Adding microbial quality to Indoor Air Quality offers a novel and insightful way of looking at the indoor environment. However, achieving this ambitious goal requires connecting the technology of the building (HVAC), biology (microbiomes) and policymakers (certificates, norms and recommendations). By linking these topics (and experts in those fields) TakeAir truly reshapes the way we look at the well-being in office buildings.

To realize this impact and set goals the project management is organized around TakeAir which is responsible for conceptualization, study design, execution of the tasks and data management. When suited, for instance during the air sampling and microbiome analysis, TakeAir seeks support from experts in the field of next-generation sequencing, biochemistry etc. Each part of the project is divided into tasks and milestones which are shared with the main stakeholders in the form of reports as deliverables.

Previous article

The case for biodiversity in the built environment.

21/02/2023 Update - In April 2022 TakeAir started its new pilot case program for the complete Biospheric Air Treatment system. We present out conclusions and insights in this update.
Next article

TakeAir is nominated for the Trends Impact awards 2023

07/06/23 News - The Trends Impact Awards are Belgium’s most prestigious awards and aim to recognise organisations and projects implementing strategies that generate a positive impact and create sustainable value.

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