The Earth, Wind & Fire concept for natural air conditioning is an innovative technological and social development.
• Air conditioning without fans
• Intramural generation of wind power in combination with solar energy
• Zero energy and positive energy buildings are possible
• The architect is co-designer of the climate system and partly responsible for the energy consumption and the indoor environment of buildings.
• For the user in the workplace, an improved indoor environment is envisaged through improved air quality, avoiding draft problems, and eliminating low frequency fan noise.
• The IEQ science indicates that, with the aforementioned improvements in the workplace, higher productivity in the workplace can be expected.
The concept of Natural Air Conditioning based on Earth, Wind & Fire has been developed with subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and positively assessed by experts from the building construction and installation industry. To establish the confidence of the real estate sector in the concept, it is necessary to realize a demonstration project. The problem of the market introduction of an innovative and pioneering concept in the predominantly conservative construction industry can effectively be resolved. It would be a grave disadvantage to society if this research ends with just a nice thesis that is gathering dust in hundreds of bookcases.
The goal of the demonstration project is the redevelopment and revitalization of an existing office building employing architectural and installation technical resources by which the outdated mechanical air conditioning system is replaced by natural air conditioning. Using a special roof shape for the utilization of the wind (the Ventec Roof), a Climate Cascade for preconditioning the air, and a Solar Façade for exhausting air and harvesting solar heat, the building will be transformed into a “climate machine”.
The results of the demonstration project are the following:
• Experience is gained, both thematic and with respect to technical content, through the development of the Earth, Wind & Fire concept.
• The above technological and social claims are tested so that the building industry will be convinced of the qualities of the concept.
• The construction and installation industry can familiarize and prepare for this innovative development in the real estate world.
The natural air flows in the Earth, Wind & Fire concept are derived from thermally driven pressure differences for which a certain minimum building height is usually required. The research has been focused on office buildings with a height of > 15 meters, though not exclusively.
The office stock in the Netherlands is extensive with an expected decline in structural demand. It is, therefore, obvious not to choose to construct a new building for the demonstration project but, instead, use an existing building, whether or not already in use. This building should be, preferably, characterized with high energy consumption, a poor indoor environment, and an outdated architectural appearance. After revitalization based on the Earth, Wind & Fire concept, it will be transformed into a zero or positive energy building with an excellent indoor environment and characteristic architecture, the logo of E,W & F.
As a demonstration project, this building should be, preferably, not overly complicated geometrically, should have a fairly isolated location in an urban environment, and a height > 15 m. A 10-story building with 10,000 m2 gfa would be ideal.
Construction Partners sought
For the redevelopment/revitalization of such a building, a partner is sought within the circles of developers, contractors, building owners, property managers, etc. On the one hand, this partner will bear, as the pioneer, the risk inherent in innovative developments but, on the other hand, receives the benefits of government subsidy – see below. By making use of the validated calculation models which have been developed in the research, the risk is minimal. The advice and support of the project from the principal investigator of E,W & F further ensures minimization of risk.
The realization of this appealing innovative project will produce significant publicity which will strengthen the positive image of the construction partners. Companies can, therefore, achieve an improvement in their market position.
For the investment cost of the demonstration project, an appeal can be made for the subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs conducted by NL Agency and TKI EnerGO (Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation for Energy in the Built Environment)
This scheme distinguishes between fundamental research, industrial research, and experimental development.
• Fundamental research (FR) includes experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts without any direct practical application or use of new knowledge. The maximum subsidy rate is 100%.
• Industrial research (IR) includes the acquisition of new technical and scientific knowledge with the target of using it when developing a new product, process or service or to improve existing products, processes, or services This knowledge is part of the outcome of the project. The maximum subsidy rate is 60%.
• Experimental development (ED) is related to the market and covers the acquisition, combination, and design of existing scientific, technological, business, and other relevant knowledge and skills for planning, arrangements, or designs for the benefit of a new, modified or improved product, process, or service. This includes creating designs, drawings, plans, and other documentation provided that they are not intended for commercial use. Within development, therefore, is the creation of an initial prototype and testing thereof, provided that the prototype cannot be converted or used for industrial applications or commercial exploitation. The maximum subsidy rate is 40%.
A demonstration project is about demonstrating the functioning of a first application of a new or innovative technology, function, or a new approach or innovative system in a realistic operating environment in the Netherlands. It may also involve application of a combination of new and existing technology. This can be combined with a (new) approach of the social and non-technological factors that play a role in the application of this new technology. Projects with a social, technical, and/or economic risk are involved. The maximum subsidy is 40% of the additional investment costs.
The minimum requirement for cooperation is: 1 company + 1 research organization. The minimum contribution of the company is 40%. The maximum grant amount is 1 million euros.
The plan for a demonstration project of Earth, Wind & Fire has been discussed with TKI EnerGO and NL Agency and is, basically, positively valued. The deadline for submitting a grant application is September 19, 2013. It is expected that a new opportunity will be offered in 2014.