Practices

Neobuild Innovation Centre: Living Lab of construction technology solutions

Highlighted Case October 2016
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The Neobuild Innovation Centre (NIC) is a ground-breaking, showcase building. This building incorporates a number of innovative processes and materials in its construction. In addition, it is a Living Lab where a variety of different materials, products and installations can be tested and monitored. Manufacturers can also introduce their state of art solutions in order to test them under real-world operating conditions and receive feedback from users. This building is also used as a real-time/life resource for providing specialized hands-on training (e.g., HVAC systems) and presently hosts an innovation hub which promotes R&D in the field of sustainable construction. It has been co-financed by the main business association of Luxembourg’s building sector, and an innovation grant from the Luxembourgish Ministry of Economy. The centre is a PPP considering the approximately 70 private sector members in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade.


The NIC building fits in very well with the Horizon 2020 initiative set up by the European Commission. In effect, by that date, any new building must be “zero energy”. Neobuild wanted to get a six-year head start on this regulation by constructing a building which heralds the arrival of smart buildings and which will use energy it generates. 

 

Alongside this purely environmental aspect, a lot of importance has been placed on the comfort of the users, an equally vital component. This building will be regularly monitored and its users will play a key participatory role in this, being able to determine the heating or lighting energy use levels.

 

 

Construction solutions

 

- Bio-based and recycled materials: By using solid wood, cellulose, cement particle board, stone aggregates, wooden cladding and 100% bio-based paint among other materials, the building is well positioned to support the Greater Region’s commitment to bio-based materials.

 

- Renewable Energies: Geothermal drilling, ice tanks, heat exchanger located in a buried tank which is used to collect rain water, and thermal solar panels provide various sources of renewable energy to supply the building’s three heat pumps. These pumps get their electricity from seven solar panel systems from different manufacturers and from the greatest inexhaustible energy system available –human energy input.

 

- Health and Comfort: One of the main concerns underlying the project was the comfort of those using the building. To get this right, the concept of “comfort” had to be defined for everyone concerned. After a few interviews, a compromise was reached that took into account both comfort and the environment. Today, each person using the building can enjoy a bright, functional space while at the same time accepting that summer temperatures have to be managed by adapting their behaviour and not by using an air-conditioning system. Using materials that naturally regulate humidity in the rooms, suitable ventilation and safe materials such as eco paints and formaldehyde-free adhesives has ensured that there is plenty of clean air for the people using the building. This air is regulated by numerous sensors which alert the building manager should there be any malfunction. In conjunction with this regulation system, satisfaction surveys are carried out on a regular basis to ensure that the needs of those using the building are being met, needs which constantly change and develop.

 

- Smart Buildings: It is possible to monitor the building and its technical installations rigorously because there are over 1,500 sensors with multiple functions which makes the building fully in line with its primary functional capabilities. Moreover, the technologies which have been installed make top-level load-shedding possible. The building’s “smart” aspect is also supported by the end users as the people are aware of it, have taken the concept readily on board and want to play an active part in its development.

 

 

Location

 

5A, Zone d’Activités Economiques Krakelshaff, 3290 Bettemburg, Luxembourg

(located on the premises of the national training institute for the building sector - IFSB)
 

 

 

Project team

 

Project management and promoter: Développement Economique de la Construction - CDEC (public authority)

Architect design: ARCO - Architecture Company

Engineering design: Milestone Consulting Engineers

Thermal consultant: COCERT s.a. (public company belonging to CDEC) in collaboration with SIEGEL SCHLEIMER INGENIEURS-CONSEILS s.à r.l. (in case of electrical installations)

Construction works: CIMALUX Ciments & Matériaux (assistance to project management), Company POECKES s.à.r.l. (concrete structural works), Steffen Holzbau s.a. (wooden structural works), Servalux (wooden enclosure works), OST manufaktur (wooden enclosure works) and a + p kieffer OMNITEC s.à.r.l. (HAVC and electricy works)

 

 

Time Schedule

 

Design: 2012

Construction: 2013 - 2014

Delivery and inauguration: June 2015

 

 

Building use and area

 

Total Plot Area : 2,423 m2

Total Constructed Floor Area: 2,232.7 m2

Total Treated Floor Area - TFA : 1,487.2 m2

Total Treated Volume: 5,173.1 m3

 

The Neobuild Innovation Centre is a three-storey office building, made of a two-level solid timber structure which stands on a concrete lower storey. The 500m2 ground floor is used for equipment rooms/plant, a workshop for training and a meeting space for professionals. The two upper floors are comprised of offices, training and meeting rooms, with a total floor space of 1,000 m2. The flat roof is used for equipment (solar panels, glass corridor, weather station and urban greenhouses). The usable surface area is 560m2.

 

The NIC building is also connected to another building, the IFSB Institut de Formation Sectoriel du Bâtiment (Training institute for building sector), by a triangular Atrium made from a 3D mesh of metal beams. To move between the different entrances of the IFSB, Neobuild and the main private entrance of Neobuild from the road, there are concrete-coated pan joist floors. The total surface area of this zone is 300 m2.  The new building is split vertically in two by a glass corridor, which creates two staggered units perpendicular to the existing IFSB building. 

 

 

 

Construction costs

 

Whole building cost: 5 M €

Renewable energy systems cost: 750,000 €

 

 

Envelope performance

 

Average U-Value: 0,23 W/m2K

 

There is a wide mix of different types of facades, roofs, paving slabs and windows currently in use to study the behaviour of these materials and technologies over time (controls and  sensor-based).

 

The whole list of elements are:

 

FACADES

• Pre-cast concrete VIP insulating wall

• Solid timber + cellulose wadding

• Solid timber + glass foam

• Solid timber + rock wool

• Solid timber + wood fibre

 

PAVING SLABS

• Extruded polystyrene

• Glass foam

 

ROOFING

• Extruded polystyrene

• Glass foam

• VIP

• Rock wool

• Wood fibre

 

WINDOWS

• Double-glazed fire break (experimental connection area)

• Tripled-glazed

• Electrochromic glass

• Wooden frame

• Aluminium frame

• Aluminium and wood frame

• Wood-cork frame

 

 

Energy consumption

 

Primary energy consumption: 46.00 kWh PE/m2.year

Primary energy consumption for standard building: 142.50 kWh PE/m2.year

Calculation method: RGD du 31 août 2010 - bâtiment fonctionnel

 

Final energy consumption: 17.30 kWh FE/m2.year.

Breakdown for final energy consumption: Heating (27%), DHW (6%), Cooling (0%), Lighting (50%), Ventilation (15%) and Auxiliary power (2%)

 

Real final energy consumption: 63 kWh FE/m2.year (2015)

 

 

Energy systems

 

Integrated HVAC system with different technologies: Conventional heat pump combined with renewable systems (solar thermal and geothermal heat pump), Low temperature floor heating, Radiant ceiling, Double flow heat exchanger for ventilation

 

Renewable systems (37% of total energy production):

-Solar photovoltaic (106.21 m2 13.3kW)

-Solar thermal (16m2 10kW) integrated with an ice tank with solid-liquid state change (9 m3) technology and a rainwater collection system

-Geothermal heat pump (10kW) with pipelines located in the plot area in spiral form inside two types of material (concrete and clay)

 

Other:

-Weather station

-Monitoring system with thermal, comfort and other sensors

 

Air Tightness Value: 0.54 1/h at n50 (http://www.construction21.org/luxembourg/data/sources/users/18/c110072---nic---certificat-bdt-141028--edt.pdf)

 

GHG in use: 11.30 KgCO2/m2/year

 

 

Awards and recognitions

 

Winner of Green Building Solutions Awards 2015 in the Smart Buildings category (www.construction21.org/static/award-2015-winners.html)

 

 

Additional information

 

3D tour of building details (video demo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBth7UXxEUA&feature=youtu.be

 

Neobuild official website: http://neobuild.lu/

 

Some pictures of 3D tour: http://neobuild.lu/ressources/galeries/visite-3d-de-l-innovation-living-lab

 

Gallery of building pictures: http://neobuild.lu/ressources/galeries/neobuild-innovation-living-lab

 

Communiqué de Presse Neobuild (2011), "L'innovation éco-technologique dans le secteur de la construction": http://www.eco-innovation.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=309%3Aneobuild-innovation-in-eco-technologies-for-the-construction-sector&catid=66%3Aluxembourg&Itemid=66

 

https://greenregio.uni.lu/Case-studies/Luxembourg/Luxembourg-Actor-configurations-in-green-building-projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons learnt

As part of a continuous improvement process, Neobuild has issued a satisfaction questionnaire to the occupants of the building and to visitors, in order to gather their views and comments and to assess any potential areas for improvement. These surveys have helped to enhance the level of comfort of the occupants. The results showed that the occupants particularly appreciated the lighting levels (e.g. electrochromic glass), the visible wooden structure which gives Neobuild Innovation Centre a welcoming feel, the roof-top greenhouse and garden, the sports equipment, the user-friendly kitchenettes and the individual control of the lights and the outdoor blinds.

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