We care about our environmental responsibility. One of the ways that we demonstrate this is through our commitment to Zero Energy Buildings - those buildings with an annual net energy consumption of zero and generating zero carbon emissions.
The WICONA Test Centre
The WICONA Test Centre is one of the first energy-neutral industrial buildings and one of the most modern testing facilities in Europe.
Located at Bellenberg in Germany, this purpose-designed £3.1 million facility allows new WICONA products and project-specific facade solutions to be tested in-house and independently certified to the latest European standards. The building was designed to be energy efficient and sustainable, consuming just 23Wh/m²a of energy for heat and light - around the same as a standard passive house.
Minimising impact on the environment
Sustainable features of the WICONA Test Centre include:
- Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels which harness solar energy and generate enough power for heating and lighting the entire building
- The surplus 30,000 kWh/a produced provides the operating energy for the Test Centre, making it one of the first zero-emission production buildings in Europe
- The WICONA facade is integrated with the building services and low-energy technology, and is highly glazed to allow most testing to be carried out without the need for artificial lighting
- The large volumes of water required for the facade tests use a closed water circuit to minimise water consumption
The WICONA Technology Centre
At WICONA's Technology Centre, directly adjacent to the Test Centre, a multi-functional TEmotion facade is installed. The building was originally constructed in 1991 and had a single skin facade with traditional window hinges with fanlights but no daylight control, mechanical ventilation, or cooling systems. By installing the TEmotion facade, the building's carbon footprint has been lowered.
TEmotion is an award-winning intelligent facade concept developed by WICONA. This facade reacts to changes in external and internal conditions, such as light and temperature, and makes a significant difference to improving the energy efficiency of the building envelope. This reduces the building's operating costs and lowers carbon emissions.
The TEmotion Facade
WICONA's Technology Centre comprises of six TEmotion facade panels each measuring 3.10m x 3.5m. The facade was designed as a double-skin with a UcW value of 1.0w/(m²K) and room height glazing with opaque and clear glass. The single external pane is tinted green to complement the adjacent WICONA Test Centre. The internal facade has double-insulated glazing with a Ug value of 1.1W/(m²K).
Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
The TEmotion panels for the Technology Centre each contain a facade system ventilation device designed to control heating and cooling within the building using a three-stage ventilator. To minimise electricity consumption as much as possible, highly-efficient motors are used in each fan.
The monocrystalline photovoltaic modules in the facade each yield around 400W of electricity which is then fed back into the grid. Vents installed allow fresh air to flow in freely during the day, warm the interior which is then discharged out through high-level vents. When air conditioning is activated, fresh air is let out via the vents where it is cooled or heated using the integral ventilation device in the facade before being fed back inside the building. At night, the interior can be flushed through with cool air, and in the event of a fire, the opening vents extract smoke from inside the building.
Controlling light and glare
The amount of natural light entering the building and protection from the sun is controlled using a two-part louvre blind system that's integrated within the facade. This gives the building occupiers complete control for their comfort, ensures glare-free zones and helps to maximise natural light, provide privacy if needed, and reduces the reliance on artificial lighting.