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Wim Boydens attended the opening of the new HQ building for Nathan Benelux on 2nd November in Zevenaar.  The new building uses our hybridGEOTABS partner Uponor's technology for heating and cooling in floors and ceilings, within this zero energy building.

Sustainable cooling and heating is the core business of Nathan Benelux with over 155 dedicated employees across 3 locations in the Netherlands and Belgium. Continuous growth led to the need for a new office and warehouse building in the Netherlands. In line with the core business, the new building would of course need to be cooled and heated using sustainable technology with alpha innotec heat pumps and Uponor floor/ceiling heating technology.

Situated in the town of Zevenaar in the Netherlands, the new building is a testimony of current technology in heating and cooling, but it’s not experimental. All technology applied is proven technology, in some cases technology available for decades. Through rigorous engineering the combined benefits of the existing technology resulted in a cost effective and energy neutral building. Designed by WillemsenU architects, the new building is built using concrete and large glass facades. The triple glazing and other insulation ensures a A++++ energy efficient building.

Ground Source Energy
The core energy for heating and cooling is provided using a heat/cold ground storage through two open wells. One well is drilled at a depth of 90m and used for heating. The other well is drilled at a depth of 70m and used for cooling. Both wells are connected to two alpha innotec SWP professional 45kW ground source heat pumps that provide a base temperature of 18 deg.C inside the building. Each room has its own separate ventilation shafts which are connected to separate decentral heating/cooling boxes. Using cooled or heated air, a stable room temperature of around 21-22 deg.C is achieved during winter and summer. The temperature can be regulated per room with this system and the required energy for each box is also delivered using the ground source. The constant temperature of 18 deg.C during winter and summer is reached using concrete core activation. Through underfloor and ceiling heating and cooling from Uponor, the concrete mass of the building is kept at a stable temperature, resulting in a stable climate inside the building.

Insertion of the filter tube used the pump up the ground water for heating or cooling

The technical core of the new building with two alpha innotec SWP ground source heat pumps

Concrete Core Activation
Concrete core activation will create this stable environment, with heat pumps and renewable sources.  Ventilation with heat recovery will be used to achieve the high sustainability goals. The choice for concrete core activation creates a highly sustainable building that optimally combines technology and design. By incorporating most of the installations in the concrete floor and by omitting the usual suspended ceiling, the clean work concrete ceiling comes into view and undisturbed heat exchange can take place between the floor, the ceiling and the room. Only the grilles for air treatment poured in the concrete, luminaires for the basic lighting and sprinkler heads remain visible. A tight image with minimal use of material and a stable temperature are the result.

All pipes, ventilation shafts, electric and sprinkler installations are embedded in the concrete floor

The design of the building is tailored to the environment to support the zero-energy concept. The use of brise soleil and south facing open façades utilise the heat and light from the sun, and shading from it where necessary. The choice of materials, such as the photovoltaic cells in the atrium roof and triple glazing, are used in addition to their well-known sustainable properties with a sun protection function to keep the climate stable. 

Knowledge Centre
To achieve a carbon free society in 2050, knowledge and expertise is needed. In the Netherlands and Belgium millions of homes need to be disconnected from gas or oil powered heating systems. The installers needed to perform this energy transition are lacking knowledge and expertise. Therefore the Nathan Academy has been founded for training both installers and other parties in the building industry. Nathan Academy occupies a large portion of the new building with a 500sqm showroom, training room for 70 persons and a practice room with fully functioning heat pump systems. Thousands of installers are trained in installing and servicing heat pump systems. The new Nathan HQ is a true knowledge centre for sustainable climate technology, built on proven technology from alpha innotec and Uponor.

A fully functioning practice room. The generated warm water is fed into the central system.

Thanks to Gert Dewandeleer from Nathan for explanatory text and photos.

Congratulations also to Uponor on celebrating the company's 100th anniversary

Further images and information (in Dutch) can be found here on WillemsenU Architects' website

You can find out more about Nathan and its building (in Dutch or French) here