Sustainability in focus
For the new headquarters of software company AFAS, the clients were looking for a chilled water system that would fit into the building’s sustainability concept.
aquatherm blue pipe made of the corrosion-resistant plastic polypropylene (PP-R) was installed over 6532 metres. Its significantly lower CO2 emissions compared to steel pipes and its very good recyclability were decisive for the choice of the system.
AFAS office building sets new standards in the Netherlands – aquatherm blue pipe installed
To describe the “AFAS Clubhouse” as a company headquarters is not quite accurate – because it is much more than that.
Experience-oriented and future-proof. That’s what the building that the Dutch software company AFAS had built in Leusden near Utrecht is supposed to be. That means: sustainable and completely geared towards digitalisation and new forms of working, learning and staying. Therefore, it not only offers a special working environment for approximately 500 employees to feel comfortable in, but has also become a unique business card for customers and visitors.
The “AFAS Clubhouse” consists of several buildings that are connected to each other. The centrepiece is the atrium with its inner garden. From there you can reach the main building with the offices, the sports areas including a yoga room, climbing wall and sports hall, the studios, the training centre, the restaurant, and a special event area – the theatre. It offers space for 850 guests and is used for business events, seminars, product presentations and premieres. It also hosts performances, such as the musical about the life of Dutch footballer Johan Cruijff, which premiered in autumn 2021.
Solar panels and Smart Building
The AFAS headquarters is one of the most sustainable office buildings in the Netherlands. It is almost completely energy neutral. The 1009 solar panels on the roof are enough to cover the annual consumption of 133 households. There are also 100 charging stations for electric cars on the premises. In addition, the smart building principle applies: sensors ensure that energy is only consumed where it is needed. A sophisticated ventilation concept, in which the air is ionised and thus freed from dust, odours and microorganisms, ensures excellent air quality. Separate ventilation for the office and the theatre means that only necessary air is ventilated and ionised – because when the theatre is full, the office is often already empty. This has a positive effect on electricity consumption.
AFAS also chose a product for the cooling water system that fits into the sustainability concept: The aquatherm blue pipe system was installed over 6532 metres and in sizes between 40 and 75 mm. It is made of the corrosion-resistant plastic polypropylene (PP-R).
Polypropylene – a by-product of crude oil processing – is one of the two most important standard plastics. Life cycle analyses in accordance with ISO 14040 are used to examine the effects of raw material production on the environment. Studies show significantly lower CO2 emissions from polypropylene pipes compared to other raw materials, especially steel. aquatherm, headquartered in Attendorn (Germany), has been processing this raw material, which is characterised by a long service life and very good environmental compatibility and recyclability, for about 50 years. The majority of the plastic waste resulting from the economic and production process is recycled internally and processed into new products.
Prefabricated elements shorten installation time
aquatherm blue pipe is characterised by its high temperature and pressure resistance. Added to this are the exceptionally good fusion welding properties, ensuring a fully homogeneous and materially cohesive unit, achieving maximum safety and durability.
ERIKS, the official Dutch partner of aquatherm, together with the installation company Homij Technical Systems, took care of the planning and use of the piping system in the “AFAS Clubhouse”. Homij has its own prefabrication workshop. This meant that many elements of the piping system were prefabricated in this workshop and transported to the AFAS construction site ready for installation. Efficient planning significantly reduced the installation time for the project.
“A big challenge was that the building has almost no straight walls due to its shape,” explained Marcel Groenveld, application engineer at ERIKS. “By using branch saddles and prefabricated bends, the system could be properly installed in every room.”