Our new headquarters

The most sustainable building in the country

The new, ambitious building for the Energy Academy Europe is the most sustainable education building of The Netherlands. A new top institute where industry, education and academia join forces to work on research and innovation in the field of energy. To achieve the extremest sustainable energy principles, the building has a particular design with a large solar roof. The construction, some 15.000 m2 with BREEAM-rating ‘Outstanding’ was completed in 2016 on Zernike Campus Groningen.

Natural and functional design

The new building is designed to inspire, exchange ideas, be innovative and to generate energy. The unique design demonstrates how a building can make optimum use of the natural elements earth, water, air and sunlight as a primary source of energy. The sloping roof with solar panels will be optimally applied to collect solar energy. The solar panels not only provide a lot of energy, but they also ensure maximum natural lighting . This outer layer gives the building a unique and characteristic appearance, drawing attention to the innovative energy management going on inside the building.

Roughly speaking, the building will comprise of two sections. The northern part of the building contains the research areas with laboratories and related workspaces, and on the south side the office spaces, a winter garden and the teaching areas. In between the sections, both worlds come together in a large ‘energy square’, the lively heart of the building. Via wide, attractive stair ramps users and visitors will feel a natural desire to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Excercise and sociability is encouraged and the elevator will not use unnecessary energy.

The winter garden will serve as an open extension for the rest of the building, but can be closed off when required. It is a public place, to be used both for relaxing and as a work space.

Clever use of nature

For this building we have chosen a low-tech approach to the energy issue. Optimum use is being made of the resources that are readily available: the elements earth, water, air and sunlight. A 200-metre-long air vent under the building uses the earth to cool and heat the air and water; rainwater is being used to flush the toilets; the ventilation is powered by a ‘solar chimney’; the sun’s rays are being put to optimum use for lighting and energy production. When the natural sources become insufficient, back-up installations will be in operation for heating, ventilation and lighting. Through the innovative use of renewable energy it is possible to cut back the operating expenses in the long term considerably.

Extremely sustainable

The BREEAM-rating ‘Outstanding’ sets extremely high standards for sustainability and energy consumption. The building will be an example of an inspirational energy regime. The applied standard is so high that there is no comparable education building in The Netherlands at this time.

It sets an example for future building projects all over the world. To achieve this ambitious project, a team of experts was comprised  consisting of Broekbakema, pvanb architecten, ICS Adviseurs, Arup, Ingenieursbureau Wassenaar and DGMR came.

Facts & Figures (in Dutch)

** This project is co-financed by the Northern Netherlands Provinces alliance (SNN), the Ruimtelijk Economisch Programma and by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. **