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Groundbreaking Work

@Zernike Campus Groningen
@Zernike Campus GroningenProjectsEnergy Academy Europe

Energy Academy Europe

It's ready: the most sustainable education building of the Netherlands!
In this ambitious building industry, education and academia are joining forces to work together on research and innovation in the field of energy. To achieve the extremely sustainable energy principles, the building has been given a particular design with a large solar roof. The construction of almost 15.000 m2 with BREEAM-rating ‘Outstanding’ it completed in October 2016 on the Zernike Campus Groningen.

Natural and functional design

The new building is designed to inspire each other, exchange ideas, be innovative and to generate energy. The unique design demonstrates how a building can make optimal 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 thanks to smart placing 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 comprises two sections. On the north side will be the research areas with laboratories and related workspaces, and on the south side the workspaces , a winter garden and the teaching areas. Between them, all worlds come together in a large ‘energy square’, the lively heart of the building. Also the floors, made of natural material, connect all parts of the building. Via wide, attractive stair ramps users and visitors will feel a natural desire to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Exercise and sociability will be encouraged and the elevator will not use unnecessary energy.

A large winter garden will serve as an open extension for the rest of the building, but can be closed off if required. The winter garden will be a public place, and a pause and workplace as well.

Design of the interior of the Energy Academy
Design of the interior of the Energy Academy

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 of sustainability and energy consumption in the new building. The building itself will be an example of an inspirational energy regime. The standard is so high that there is no comparable education building in the Netherlands.

It sets an example for future building projects all over the world. To achieve this goal, a team of experts is working together consisting of Broekbakema, pvanb architecten, ICS Adviseurs, Arup, Ingenieursbureau Wassenaar and DGMR.

Design of the exterior of the Energy Academy
Design of the exterior of the Energy Academy

About Energy Academy Europe

The Energy Academy Europe (EAE) in Groningen is the initiative of the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, GasTerra and Energy Valley. The key energy themes of the EAE are the energy of tomorrow (such as wind and solar energy), smart grids, energy efficiency, cost savings and CO2 reduction.

Facts & Figures | Energy Academy Building

BREEAM-nl score

Outstanding (more)
89,62% of points

Gross floor area in m2 (NEN 2580) 14.819 m2
Total site area in hectare 4.350 m2

Floor areas by function and dimensions (NEN 2580)

a) Meeting area
b) Communal area
c) Industry function
d) Office area
e) Educational function
f) Other designated use
g) Traffic arteries
h) Storage / Facilities


a) 2.097 m2
b) 895 m2
c) 2.492 m2
d) 5.513 m2
e) 750 m2
f) 3.071 m2
g) 1.159 m2
h) 275 m2

Expected energy use in kWh / m2 gross floor area 12,6 kWh / m2 gross floor area  / year electrical
Expected use of fossil fuels in kWh / m2 gross floor area / year 0 kWh-elektrical / m2 gross floor area / year
Expected use of sustainable energy sources in kWh / m2 gross floor area

- Solar panels: 64 kWh primarily / m2 gross floor area / year
- Geothermal heating: 13 kWh primarily / m2 gross floor area / year

Expected water use in m3 / person / year 7,1 m3 / person / year
Expected % of water use from precipitation or gray water 29%
This project is co-financed by the Northern Netherlands Provinces alliance (SNN), the Ruimtelijk Economisch Programma and by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
This project is co-financed by the Northern Netherlands Provinces alliance (SNN), the Ruimtelijk Economisch Programma and by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
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Groundbreaking Work

@Zernike Campus Groningen

2015-2016 | Energy Academy Europe (completed)
2017-2018 | Feringa Building - phase I
2019-2022 | Feringa Building - phase II

Last modified:03 November 2017 12.40 p.m.
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