Thomas Rau is an (international) top speaker, entrepreneur, architect, innovator, inspirator and visionary
Thomas Rau is entrepreneur, architect, innovator and visionary. His motto is ‘guided by the future’: his decisions and actions are not determined by what is deemed possible or culturally acceptable now, but by what is necessary for the future.
For years Rau has contributed to national and international discussions about sustainability. He is promoting the use of renewable energy in the built environment and seeks to address the increasing worldwide resource scarcity. Putting words into action, RAU Architects have been on the forefront of designing environmentally conscious buildings and healthy indoor climates since 1992. The Oneplanetarchitecture Institute (OPAi) was founded in 2008, focusing on social and economic questions of our time with regard to architecture. RAU and OPAi have contributed several innovations and set new standards first in the field of CO2-neutral and energy neutral building, later for energy positive building and more recently circular architecture.
Rau argues that our so-called energy problem can be addressed, because there is more than enough energy from renewable sources. It’s our attitude that fails us in this regard and our unwillingness to fully embrace renewable energy in its various forms. While energy doesn’t need to be a problem, the increasing scarcity of raw materials is much more acute. As an entrepreneur he doesn’t feel threatened by these shortages but sees opportunities. Due to the global scope of material scarcity, Rau wants to address this issue on a global scale. That’s why he established Turntoo, a company focussing on closing material loops and developing business models to put the circular economy into practice.
“I don’t want ownership, I want performance. Who cares about lamps, I want light!” Thomas Rau stood at the cradle of the “Pay per Lux” concept, offering users lighting as a service instead of selling them lamps. In collaboration with a housing corporation and a consumer electronics company he offers the most energy-efficient refrigerators and washing machines to low income residents on a performance basis. For the Dutch township of Brummen, RAU, Turntoo and its partners completed the first building that serves as a materials depot: in 20 years the town hall can be dismantled and the materials will go back to their respective owners to be reused again.
Audiences worldwide have enjoyed Thomas Rau’s lively presentations. He isn’t afraid to confront his listeners with challenges for tomorrow. He uses his enthusiasm, energy and humour to persuade us to take action, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats.
Thomas Rau has performed as keynote speaker for large conferences as well as for smaller audiences of boards of directors, policy makers and politicians. He is ranked among the Top 5 Dutch key players in sustainability, a ranking published by national daily Trouw.
He was elected as Dutch Architect of The Year 2013 and awarded with the ARC13 Oeuvre Award for his widespread contribution in both promoting and realising sustainable architecture in the last 20 years.