Sustainable in every way
Infinity is an example for builders, architects, engineering firms and contractors. We want to inspire, offer possibilities, be a living lab for new visions and no less than 10 different techniques.
Sustainable building starts with sustainable materials. When building our office, we deliberately selected sustainable options with regard to:
- Construction techniques and structural components
- Thermal insulation materials
- Roofing materials
- External cladding materials
- Window frames
- Non-loadbearing walls and partitions
- Internal wall and ceiling finishes
- Interior floor covering
The drive to minimise environmental impact is reflected in our efficient transport solutions. For example, we have made various provisions which make active modes of transports more attractive and which promote the sustainable use of cars
- Charging points for electrically driven cars. Electric cars noticeably reduce CO2 emissions. This is because they run on electricity, not fossil fuel. Each charging point features correct cabling and an industrial standard power socket.
- Comfortable and secure bicycle parking
- Drying room
At Infinity we do not use fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal to generate energy. We wish to produce electricity in a sustainable way with the help of solar power, wind energy and combined bio-heat and power generation:
- Solar energy from a photovoltaic array. The sun provides inexhaustible energy for everyone. Moreover, as an energy supplier the sun is 100% safe because solar panels produce power without emitting harmful substances. The payback time for solar panels is estimated to be between eight and eleven years. That means that after this period solar panels supply electricity for free.
- Wind power from wind turbines
Infinity also has a few ideas for preventing and sorting waste as efficiently as possible.
- Smart Kitchen in the company canteen: this involves a smart design, clever food intake, storage and preparation.
- At Infinity, waste storage spaces are designed in such a way as to facilitate sorting at the earliest possible stage. Recycling organic wase and paper is therefore encouraged by using modified equiment with the focus on:
- Accessible, well-designed, well-maintained and clean spaces with suitable equipment and clear marking that makes sorting waste easy and even convinces reluctant users.
- Ergonomics and ease of use: sorting waste at source must be as easy for the user as throwing waste into the first available waste bin. This way we can integrate sorting waste quite easily into our daily actions and habits.
We reduce both light and heat pollution with our applications, and save a lot on our electricity bill:
- Intelligent light control
We are setting up an innovative smart lighting system that will enable our employees to customise their personal workspace or meeting place. The lighting will therefore optimally match their preferences and their current activities, for example during meetings or breaks.
- High-tech heating system using combined bio-heat and power generation
We do not use any air heating systems to heat the offices at Infinity. This is because the entire volume of air in a room has to be heated with such systems, regardless of the number of people present in that space. Therefore, with an air-heating system only a minimal part of the energy consumed is used for keeping people warm.
So to heat and cool the Infinity building, Encon, together with other partners developed a more efficient, more comfortable and healthier solution: combined bio-heat and power generation. With this new and innovative system we heat the building by means of ice buffering from ice bunkers. Ice bunkers are large concrete pits in the ground filled with water and fitted with a system of pipes. A heat pump extracts heat from the water which causes the water to slowly freeze. This energy is then used to heat the offices. The ice is subsequently used in summer to keep the offices cool. In this sense, ice buffering operates like a thermal battery.
These intelligent systems not only increase the comfort levels inside the building, but also the well-being of our employees. What’s more, we gain a better insight into the use of the office and are able to manage the entire consumption of energy.
With this project we focus on ensuring that the building fits as closely as possible into the water cycle of the surrounding environment:
- Optimum use of rainwater: by collecting and storing rainwater we can use this for functions which do not require mains water, such as maintenance, flushing toilets and urinals, washing dishes, etc.
- Rational water use
- Sensible waste water management
By operating in an energy-efficient manner and by selecting sustainable materials, we minimise damage to the environment as far as possible. We use materials, energy, transport and space as deliberately as possible.
8. HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
In addition, all the architectural and technical aspects of the building contribute to the comfort of its users:
- Acoustic comfort
- Thermal comfort from a high-tech heating system
- Visual comfort by way of smart light control
- Respiratory well-being
Furthermore, the measures laid out in ‘The New Way of Working’ guarantee the health and well-being of our occupants.
We gain a better insight into the use of office buildings with the help of smart systems. These systems provide detailed data on which rooms are used and when. Where necessary, this enables us to selectively reduce the levels of light, heating or cooling or skip unnecessary cleaning rounds when nobody has been in the room.
By checking energy consumption, we can operate in an economical and cost-efficient way.
As we see the building as a living showroom of innovative techniques, Encon is aware of using different techniques for heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and power generation. In constructing the building, we have observed that we can easily replace technologies with more innovative, environmentally and energy-friendly alternatives when it appears to be necessary.