What makes our office the most energy-efficient office in Assen?
15 Oct 2015
We are often asked how we made our office in Assen the most energy-efficient office. And how do we keep it that way? That’s why we highlighted the most important choices we made in this article. If you want to see this with your own eyes, feel free to visit! We would love to show you exactly what we are so proud of.
Background: new to old
Rewind to late 2013. Ultraware had grown and our old office no longer met our expectations. With fresh enthusiasm we started the search for something new. At first we were looking for something new. Something state of the art. And yet, in 2014, we moved into Lauwers 18. An old, dark and dusty building built back in 1998.
At first we wanted to give the building a fresh coat of paint and some new carpet, but soon after we moved in we found this would never suffice. The building also gave us a disproportionately high energy bill. Not only was this very expensive, it was also bad for the environment.
That’s why we set out to transform the old building into the most energy-efficient office in Assen.
Insulation: Just do it!
Our first step was to keep the energy inside the building. We added polyurethane insulation on a big part of the exterior wall.
Electricity: Switch it off
As a software company we depend on electricity. However, if we don’t have to, we don’t want to waste any. That’s why a all of our electrical consumers are switched off automatically if we leave a room or the building.
As a software company we depend on electricity. However, if we don’t have to, we don’t want to waste any.This begins with our light plan. Of course all our lights are energy efficient LEDs. The lights will only turn on when motion has been detected in the room. If there hasn’t been any motion in a room for more than ten minutes, the lights will automatically switch off again. Five minutes later, all wall sockets are switched off too, cutting electricity to monitors and laptop chargers. Only devices that absolutely need to have an active power supply at all times are given an exception.
The moment the last person has left the building, he or she activates the alarm. This automatically switches off all other devices like printers, coffee makers, desktop switches, wifi, emergency lights etc. Even the phones are completely switched off. (Of course you can reach us through our website outside office hours.)
Ventilation: Quality over quantity
Our climate systems monitor the carbon dioxide levels in every room. Once they reach a certain threshold, ventilation automatically kicks in. The default ventilation setting is very minimal, keeping warm or cooled air (and the invested energy) inside the building. This way we keep the working environment fresh and healthy for both our team and our clients while not wasting any unnecessary energy.
Our ventilation method is essential. When the ventilation system is active, air is blown out of the building but not before the warmth is drawn from the air and transferred to incoming fresh air. This allows us to keep the temperature inside without wasting energy.
Fuel: Almost fossil-free
When we first got the key, the building used 19,000 cubic meters of gas. When our transformation is completely finished, our goal is to bring this down to zero.
Temperature: Internal and external transport of fresh and warm air
The sun shines bright on the south side of the office. Temperature rises and air-conditioning kicks in. But on the north side it is not nearly as warm and central heating is still on. This is an unnecessary waste of energy.
Our solution: internal temperature transfer to make warm rooms cool and cool rooms warm.
In addition, we have a heat pump that utilizes the outside temperature to work to its advantage. When it is cold outside, the pump cools the outside air even further and uses the generated heat to warm the office. When temperatures rise in summer, the pump warms the outside air and uses the generated coolness to cool the office. It works like an inverted refrigerator. Cool, isn’t it?
Water usage: as little as possible
We’ve already minimized water use, but thanks to our water free (and scent free!) urinals, we use even less. When you work with more than forty (mostly male) IT specialists, you can save a lot of water. Sensor taps help minimise water use after a toilet visit.
The technology we use is controlled in one system
Innovation: Everything controlled in one system
But how many systems does it take to control all this? In an out of the box environment, several systems would need to be installed to make it all work. However, we would still risk wasting energy on systems that don’t work together. That’s why we installed one system to control them all. A unique, state-of-the-art piece of technology, and completely in line with our philosophy of integration and optimisation!
The technologies used to control our office can be managed through an online platform. It allows us to monitor and manage temperature, ventilation, cooling, heating and more for every separate room in the office. This allows us to configure how the system responds to our presence. Not only can we monitor energy usage, we can actively work to control it.
Do you want an energy efficient office?
If you consider building an energy efficient building, or if you are curious about the possibilities, visit us! We will happily show you our office. Many have gone before you, like councillor Maurice Hoogeveen and the designer of the greenest factory of the Netherlands. to make an appointment and we will see you soon in Assen!