Floating Office Rotterdam
Sustainability and energy-efficient buildings are hot topics in modern architecture, and one of the latest marvels is the Floating Office in Rotterdam. The building consists of coupled blocks of concrete that float atop the Nieuwe Maas river and uses its waters for both cooling and heating. In addition, it has smart HVAC technology from Belimo to help create an optimal environment while using minimal energy. Together with the solar cells installed on the roof, this innovative set-up makes the building entirely self-sufficient.
A Tribute to Sustainability
Floating Office in Rotterdam (FOR) was designed and created by Powerhouse Company – an international architectural practice established in Copenhagen and Rotterdam – together with the real estate expert RED Company and consultants from Roodenburg Groep BV. The project aims to reflect the values of its tenant, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) – an organization that promotes environmentally friendly technologies and encourages a climate-centered approach in planning and investment phases. FOR received a lot of attention in the media when it was completed in September 2021, and was inaugurated by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
FOR is made entirely of wood and other recyclable materials, and is designed so it can be completely dismantled for reuse. But it doesn’t end here, the roof of the building is equipped with a total of 800 m2 of solar panels and the rest of it is covered with sedum – a low-maintenance succulent species that acts as a sink for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. This green area also serves as a habitat for birds and insects, attracting pollinators and further decreasing the building’s ecological footprint.
The base of the building consists of 15 connected floats that follow the rise and fall of the water level in the tidal estuary, which can change by as much as two meters during the day. FOR can be accessed via a boardwalk and its three stories provide a 3,607 m² of floor space that are home to GCA, a restaurant and a public pool area.
Hot and Cold
Plastic floor heating pipes are installed in the floats, serving as concrete core activation to force air to pass through the holes within the material and warm or cool the building with minimal energy loss. The heat and cold are extracted from the water in the river below, and heat pumps are used to transform water ranging from -7 to 55 °C to 12 °C for the chilled water pipes, and 35 °C for the central heating system. In addition, a combination of underfloor heating and change-over ceilings work as a delivery system to increase or decrease the room temperature.
Minimal Energy Use
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for a large portion of a building’s energy consumption, which is why Powerhouse chose to work with Belimo – a company that is known to provide efficient solutions that require minimal power. By installing Belimo’s valves and environmental sensors – which monitor the indoor temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide levels – Powerhouse could ensure an optimal environment in both the office and restaurant areas. As the number of people in the different parts of FOR changes during the day, the air quality is continuously checked to ensure that each room receives just the right level of ventilation, further reducing power consumption without compromising comfort.
Efficient Monitoring and Seamless Control
The sensors and valves are connected to BACnet, which makes it easy to collect the data and optimize the environment. Moreover, the 6-way pressure independent valves (EPIVs) effectively replace as many as four 2-way valves, ensuring that hot and cold water never mix. Its pressure release function can quickly react to, and compensate for, changes in pressure caused by differences in water temperature. Since sub-metering is now often a requirement in environmentally friendly buildings, a Belimo Energy Valve™ is installed in the chilled water and central heating pipes for any part of the building that uses up more than 5 percent of the total energy, making it possible to monitor different areas separately.
Belimo Energy Valve™: Measuring, Controlling, Dynamic Balancing and Energy Monitoring
The Belimo Energy Valve™ monitors and controls the water supply temperature, flow rate and water return temperature of the heating and cooling system. Floating office uses the Belimo Energy Valve™ as a control valve and thermal energy meter installed in the surface water extraction loops with heat pumps, all air handling units and underfloor heating manifolds.
Sensors for Reliable and Accurate Measurement and Monitoring
The Floating Office is equipped with Belimo HVAC sensors and meters provide reliable and accurate measurement and monitoring with seamless Building Automation System integration. The installed Belimo Sensors work together as a complete system via BACnet MS/TP.
Perfect Indoor Cllimate with VAV
To create and maintain the perfect indoor climate for all closed spaces Floating Office is equipped with a VAV system to ensure demand-regulated operation from the fan of the air handling unit.
More Than Standard Products: Customized Products for Fast Installation
For ease of installation, Belimo delivered field devices customized for Floating Office. The pre-assembled and tested field devices such as Belimo Energy Valves, 6-way valves, EPIVs, VAVs, Belimo CO2 Sensors with customized cables and connectors cut the installation time to half a day, instead of the previously estimated 4-5 days, for a whole floor.
Belimo delivers more than just products. We support our customers with customized, pre-mounted and tested assemblies to get the best fit for your applications.
It is certainly not surprising that all the above-mentioned qualities have earned FOR a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ‘Excellent’ certification. BREEAM is a measure to assess the sustainability of projects, and factors in nine sustainability categories – management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology, and pollution – highlighting how well thought out the FOR project is from start to finish.