The new building in Belgium is an eye-catcher, but not just from the outside. Behind the new facade lies a highly modern building concept that underscores Endress+Hauser’s sustainability mindset.
It’s shortly after 3:00 pm on a winter afternoon. Jan Heynen, product manager for pressure and temperature at Endress+Hauser Belgium, has just returned from a meeting. As he nears his workspace on the second floor, the desk light turns on by itself. In about 30 minutes, the electric blinds will close to prevent the westerly setting sun from blinding him.
Sales Center Belgium, situated five kilometers north of the center of Brussels, moved into a modern new office building in October 2017. The four-story building, with 3,600-square-meters of floor space, provides twice as much room as the previous location. “More space normally means increased energy consumption,” says Managing Director Johan Puimège. “That’s why we designed the new building with a cutting-edge energy concept.”
The plan was developed with two key objectives in mind: cost-effectiveness over the entire life cycle and an absolute focus on sustainability. The concept includes numerous measures for reducing, efficiently monitoring and reusing energy. Since the 10,000-square-meter plot offers plenty of room for expansion, flexibility was built into the concept to support future growth.
Thanks to a well-thought-out plan and the use of commercially available technology, a building was created that meets the highest demands for energy efficiency. Nearly all work spaces enjoy natural light. Areas that lack natural light are furnished with energy-saving LED or fluorescent lighting, which provides a balanced UV spectrum very similar to sunlight.
The entire lighting system has automatic daylighting control, in addition to motion sensors that turn the lights on and off. The outside building lights also operate with timers and light sensors integrated into the weather station, which help control the heating, ventilation and cooling systems.
Efficient building engineering
The new building meets all of the requirements for low-energy operation in accordance with current European guidelines. “To a large extent, our building is even energy self-sufficient,” emphasizes Geert Van Denberghe. The Service Operations Manager is part of the team responsible for the modern energy concept. “Despite having twice as much square footage as the old building, we will be able to reduce our energy consumption by half.” The use of geothermal and solar energy contributes as well.
The building is heated with geothermal probes and two heat pumps. The evaporative cooling system is based on an adiabatic process that requires no additional cooling or heating sources. A flow of air in a ventilation shaft under the building is used to evaporate water and thus cool the airstream. This fresh air is transferred throughout the building using conventional ventilation technology and then mixed with the ambient air to provide pleasant temperatures all year round. “Since no energy is required for this type of cooling system, no additional operational costs are incurred,” explains Geert Van Denberghe.
Measurement technology is also deployed throughout the building. “We installed a series of Endress+Hauser instruments in the heating, ventilation and water supply systems. We measure temperature, flow, pressure, pH, conductivity and turbidity, in addition to energy consumption,” says Geert van Denberghe. “The goal is to monitor the flow of energy in the building and ensure a high degree of efficiency.”
The office and work spaces are also painstakingly designed to support efficient work flows. Intelligent space planning simplifies communications and collaboration across all departments and areas. A spacious and open meeting zone is available for discussions with colleagues and customers. The large showroom, which serves as a venue for events and training, is used to demonstrate and explain products and solutions from Endress+Hauser.
“We want everyone to feel at home here. That’s why we placed high value on attractive architecture and quality materials,” says Johan Puimège. His goal was to forge a communicative environment that promotes creativity and efficiency, one in which the employees are motivated to perform at a high level. The ultimate objective is to position the sales center to continue to meet the growing business demand and satisfy the customers’ changing needs.
Managing Director Johan Puimège is convinced: “The new building offers the room to grow Endress+Hauser Belgium even further. With this facility, we have created an inspirational meeting point for customers, employees and business partners!”