Energy Academy Europe

In 2016, the Energy Academy Europe has been realised on the Zernike campus in Groningen: a top-notch institute in which education, science and the business sector collaborate in research and innovation in the field of energy. This institute will be the place where students, researchers and entrepreneurs, both national and international, meet and inspire one another to make the international energy supply chain more sustainable and suitable for the next generations.

Most sustainable educational building in the Netherlands

The energy academy will be accommodated in a building that is a perfect example of sustainability and will be leading in this field. The building will not only be very energy efficient, but will also produce energy. A complete set of sustainability measures is integrated in the design. Therefore, the building gets the BREEAM Outstanding label; the only educational building in the Netherlands with a score this high.

Nature as a source of sustainable energy

The design has a low-tech approach in which the abundant natural sources, like earth, water, air and sunlight, will be optimally used. The earth will be used to heat and cool air and water; rain water will be used to flush the toilets. The natural ventilation is driven by an innovative solar chimney, in the ridge of the roof. A difference in air pressure is a result of the heat of the sun and fresh air is drawn into the building in the direction of the solar chimney. Sunlight is used optimally for lighting and for producing energy. The few installations in the building for heating, ventilation and lighting will only be used as a backup when the natural sources are not sufficient. To let the building produce sustainable energy, the facades and roof are fully used to collect solar energy. By placing the solar panels optimally oriented in a three-dimensional grid on the roof, there is a maximum gain of daylight while collecting energy. Maximal, sustainable energy harvest and optimal use of daylight: a combination that has never been shown before.

How does this low-tech approach work?


The energy consumption is limited, because of the optimal use of the natural climate. The elements that are responsible for that are:
1. Excellent insulation of the outer shell, it keeps warmth and cold out and it averts the sunlight if necessary
2. Natural ventilation via windows that can be opened, via a labyrinth that warms or cools the outside air and via a winter garden
3. Fresh air: CO2-detection operates the ventilation system, natural flow through big air vents, hallways and atrium
4. Optimal lighting systems, lighting detection that operates by presence and lighting levels
5. Fins on the façade: provides daylight and shields solar heat
6. Concrete core activation for a constant temperature, possibility to adjust with ventilation air
7. Cold-heat storage: making use of the present earth-temperature
8. Split-level with slopes results in minimal use of the elevator
9. Rain water collection for flushing the toilets among other uses
10. PV-balcony for research and education
11. Central energy-prestation board

The outer façade is optimally used for the harvesting of energy. The following kinds of energy are being acquired:
- Daylight
- Solar-energy
- Solar-heat
- Geothermal heat
- Geothermal cooling
- Fresh air
- Rain water

Architecture stimulating the circulation of knowledge

energy academy europe

The energy academy focuses on the cross-fertilization between the business community and institutes of knowledge. In this way, fundamental, applied and practical research is combined with education. Entrepreneurs, researchers, students and teachers come together to work on producing energy as clean and efficient as possible and on applying this sustainable energy in the existing energy infrastructures.

To stimulate the exchange of knowledge, the building is equipped to encourage people to meet and collaborate.
The building consists of two parts. At the northern part, the research area with labs and offices is positioned; at the southern part the institutes, the educational area and the winter garden are placed. In between these two parts an atrium will function as the heart of the building, where people from all of kinds of sectors meet. The winter garden is also a place that stimulates meeting; it is a public park, but also a hang out and workplace for students and entrepreneurs.

  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Energy Academy Europe
  • Project
  • Energy Academy Europe

  • Location
  • Groningen, The Netherlands

  • Client
  • University of Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences

  • GFA
  • 14819 m2

  • Start design
  • 2013

  • Completion
  • 2016

  • Commission
  • Total assignment with aesthetic supervision

  • Architect
  • Ir. Aldo Vos; Ir. Sander Veenstra; Ing. Steven Schulze in collaboration with pvanb architecten

  • Project manager
  • Ir. Willeke van de Groep

  • Description
  • Top-notch sustainable institute for education, research and the business sector

Would you like to know more about the Energy Academy Europe?
Willeke will gladly tell you more.

Willeke van de Groep

Willeke van de Groep

Project manager


Related expertises

We are proud of the fact that our clients identify themselves with our architecture and working methods. Our portfolio consists of exciting projects: from small redesigns to complex new buildings and complete master plans. We are known for designing high standard environments for education and research and for transforming monuments; for our involved collaboration and our self-evident use of sustainability measures in our designs and for our extensive experience with an integral collaboration process.