Atlas Building is the most sustainable educational facility in the world following smart refurbishment with Honeywell
THIJS MEULEN, SYSTEMS INNOVATOR FOR SMART BUILDINGS AT TUE:
“The Atlas Building is the iconic building on campus, which is why we had to renovate it. The aim was to turn it into a healthy and inspiring building that is comfortable, relevant, manipulable, and understandable.”
Ever since it was founded, the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe) has been using highly innovative technology and continuously invested in sustainability developments. The Atlas building, formerly the main building of the campus, was built in the 1960s.
Several upgrades were needed to meet modern safety requirements, reduce energy consumption, and transform the building into a sustainable facility that offers a productive learning environment.
Given that these goals can be achieved over a significant amount of time, TUe officials turned to Honeywell for a long-term partnership.
Work is currently underway on an innovative campus for 2030. TUe’s energy goals focus on ensuring that 50% of the campus will be energy-neutral and that it would use energy 30% more efficiently by 2020 than it did in 2005. The entire University has undergone three generations of construction and each upgrade made the buildings more and more sustainable.
The modifications of the Atlas building were primarily intended to increase productivity for students, visitors, and staff members. The building has open-plan, flexible, and enclosed workspaces that are interconnected with the existing education and research areas.
The main theme of the renovation was to keep the number of systems to a minimum by using natural ventilation and by allowing as much daylight as possible to enter the building. This has been achieved, among other things, by constructing a ‘smart façade’. By using a curtain wall, it was possible to preserve the existing façade construction and to meet the requirements regarding appearance, daylight and energy consumption. The new glass curtain wall has windows that can be opened automatically and operated individually. These windows have triple solar-control glazing, where at night the blinds can be lowered from the inside. This ensures that the temperature of the façade remains in line with the insulated cavity wall.
The windows also provide natural ventilation through night flushing where, in summer, the parallel-opening vent windows slide out on the upper floors to purify the air in the rooms. The mechanical windows reduce draughts in the building and remove the need for mechanical ventilation until midmorning. In the future, the system will also ensure that the windows cannot be opened at low temperatures or when it rains.
By using the Business Intelligence Model (BIM), the Honeywell team aimed to gather all the technical data available in the cloud – presenting it to TUe officials through an app that would increase on-site comfort, making it easier to regulate temperature, book meeting rooms, and more. The Atlas building is still a living lab with a basic structure that allows continuous adjustments that will optimize the systems for a period of twenty years – highlighting the University’s focus on sustainability in education.
With a score of 96.01%, the Atlas building is at the top of Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method’s (BREEAM) list of most sustainable education buildings in the world. As a result of this renovation, the building’s CO2 emissions have been reduced by around 80% and the number of users has doubled. The Atlas building has become an icon of sustainability – delivering a comfortable working and learning environment for students, staff members, and visitors.
HONEYWELL SOLUTIONS AT EINDHOVEN’S UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, ATLAS BUILDING
In 2021 the Laplace Building will be renovated in the same way and in 2023 the Gemini building will follow. The ultimate goal is to make the TUe Campus 50% energy-neutral by 2030 and to ensure that users can take full advantage of the comfort of the TUe buildings.
In 2019, the Atlas building was awarded the BREEAM Outstanding Sustainability Delivery Certificate.
THE HELIX BUILDING
From high energy costs to highly efficient savings
The Honeywell team was also involved in the modernization of the Helix building, another important TUe facility. As one of the biggest energy consumers on campus, the Helix building hosts the Chemistry department of the University – an area dedicated to tests, scientific research, and student trainings. The Honeywell team took on the challenge of improving the building’s sustainability without disrupting its 24/7, active processes – and signed an energy performance contract (EPC) with TUe in 2013. This ten-year contract focuses primarily on guaranteeing energy performance, verifiable results, continuous improvements, and safety.
The University’s goal was to use energy 30% more efficiently in 2020 than it did in 2005. The Helix Building uses a lot of energy because of the air treatment system for the laboratories. In collaboration with TUe officials, Honeywell explored smart adaptations
such as improvements to the air conditioning system and modifications to the fume cupboards. With limited resources, TUe officials decided to invest in sustainability and turned to the Honeywell Building Solutions team for confident and efficient energy savings. Thanks to the smart use of equipment, considerable savings have been achieved over the years. This was possible thanks to the use of high-efficiency filters and the replacement of motors in ventilation and exhaust air ventilation units. The energy-saving measures in the Helix building have extended the service life of the air treatment system and minimized maintenance costs. Also, due to the savings, TUe was able to add fume cupboards without having to invest in a new air treatment system.
“In Honeywell, we have found a partner we can trust and work with in a transparent manner.” Thijs Meulen, Systems Innovator for Smart Buildings at Tue