Zero Energy Buildings

We care passionately about environmental responsibility.  One of the ways we can 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.

WICONA Test Centre

The WICONA 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 façade solutions to be tested in-house and independently certified to the latest European standards. The building was designed to be highly energy efficient and sustainable, consuming only 23kWh/m²a of energy for heat and light – around the same as a standard passive house.

Minimising impact on the environment

Sustainable features of the new WICONA Test Centre include:

  • Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels which harness solar energy and generate sufficient power for heating and lighting the entire building
  • The surplus 30,000kWh/a produced provides the operating energy for the test centre, making it one of the first zero emission production buildings in Europe
  • The WICONA façade is integrated with the building services and low energy technology, and is highly glazed to allow most of the testing to be carried out without the need for artificial lighting
  • The large volumes of water required for the façade tests use a closed water circuit to minimise consumption.

WICONA Technology Centre

At WICONA’s Technology Centre, directly adjacent to the Test Centre, the company has installed a new multi-functional TEmotion façade. The building was originally constructed in 1991 and had a single skin façade and traditional window hinges with fanlights, but with no daylight control, mechanical ventilation or cooling systems. By installing a TEmotion façade, the building’s carbon footprint has been significantly improved.

TEmotion is an award-winning intelligent façade concept developed by WICONA. It reacts to changes in both exterior and interior conditions, such as light and temperature, and so can make a significant contribution to improving the energy efficiency of the building envelope and reducing the building’s operating costs and carbon emissions.

The TEmotion Façade

WICONA’s Technology Centre comprises six TEmotion façade panels each measuring 3.10m x 3.5m. The façade was designed as a double skin with a Ucw value of 1.0w/(m²K) and room height glazing using both opaque and clear glass. The external single pane is green tinted glass to complement the adjacent WICONA Test Centre. The internal façade has double-insulated glazing with an Ug value of 1.1 W/(m²K).

Heating, Cooling and Ventilation

The TEmotion panels for the Technology Centre each contain a façade system ventilation device designed to control the heating and cooling inside the building via a three stage ventilator. Highly efficient motors are used in each fan to further minimise electricity consumption.

The monocrystalline photovoltaic modules in the façade each yield around 400W of electricity which is fed back into the grid. Other components of the TEmotion façade include vents to allow fresh air to flow in freely during the day, warm the interior and then be discharged out via high level vents. When the 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 façade and fed back into the inside of the building. At night, the interior can be flushed through with cool air and in the event of a fire, the opening vents will also extract smoke from inside the building.

Controlling Light and Glare

The amount of natural light entering the building and protection from the glare of the sun are controlled using a two-part louvre blind system that is also integrated in the façade. This gives the building occupiers complete control for their comfort and ensures glare-free zones as well as helping to maximise natural light, maintain privacy if required, and reduce the reliance on artificial lighting.

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