Putting theory into practice
Encon has built Infinty for further growth. It is an exceptional building that can serve as an example in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability. However, in order to set the standard as an office building, it needs to be visited by the general public. For that reason, we have decided to turn it into an experience center.
Being an innovator, Encon is always on the lookout for exciting new projects. The guiding principle for our new office building was that it had to serve as an example for future buildings. For this reason, the following requirements were taken into account from the outset:
- Sustainability while taking into account cost-efficiency
- Functionality and practicality for staff
- Office building adapted to the new ways of working
An exceptional building deserves an exceptional name: 'Infinity'. Seen from above, the building has the shape of an infinity symbol. Inside, the structure is designed in such a way that you can continue walking along the offices without ever having to stop. Infinity is, of course, a symbol of sustainability. In addition to sustainability, Infinity also stands for the determination and creativity with which Encon's employees look for solutions to make business operations more cost-efficient, more environmentally friendly and more future-oriented.
For us, 'Infinity' represents the office of the future. Its ambition is to bring together far-reaching techniques and ideas, to work with prototypes and to show what the future may look like. An office building should therefore present the best available techniques, techniques that have proven their effectiveness and profitability. And everything that can be found in this Encon office building should also be a sensible solution for any other company.
Own wind turbine & renewable energy
This building generates its own energy. Infinity has its own wind turbine that supplies power and also serves as a towering signpost. Next to the building are two sun trackers: large solar panels that, like sunflowers, invariably orientate themselves towards the sun. Inside the building, visitors can observe how much energy the sun and wind produce for the building.
Because we see this building as a living showroom, we made a conscious choice to combine different techniques for heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and power generation. The construction of the building took account of the fact that certain techniques, once obsolete, would have to be easily replaced by more environmentally and energy-efficient alternatives.
Example for the hospitality and catering sector
However, a building can only serve as an example and as a source of inspiration if there are visitors. To this end, an auditorium was also built to provide training on energy and sustainability for external people. The whole of the building was designed to accommodate people. The complex even has a restaurant and a professional kitchen with low energy consumption. In the restaurant, various technologies have been incorporated to demonstrate the possibilities for the hospitality and catering sector to work more energy-efficiently.
Sustainability on all fronts
The fact that Infinity is the first building in Europe to have obtained both the BREEAM and LEED sustainability certificates for that type of building proves that efficiency is paramount and has been thoroughly thought through for every aspect of the building. After all, as a certified auditor of both systems, Encon owes that to itself. The building was designed to achieve even the highest levels of certification, i.e. BREEAM Excellent and LEED Platinum Gold. This method allows sustainability to be quantified for other companies. At Infinity, local involvement also has a role to play. When selecting suppliers and materials, specific attention will be paid to ensuring that they have been produced in the area. In addition to the selection of materials, Infinity is not only a pioneer in the fields such as energy, water, health and well-being. The highest standards and values are also applied when it comes to building management and ecology.
Heating and cooling using btes
The building also has a sustainable air conditioning system, an installation where cost-efficiency and energy optimisation are paramount. The installation was designed to continuously strive for a high thermal efficiency during heating and cooling by using a BTES system (borehole thermal energy storage) with heat pumps.
The system was also designed to consume as little primary energy as possible when heating and cooling the building despite the investments in wind and solar energy. No fossil fuels are used on the site. Inside the building, the principle of the living showroom was also applied in the area of release systems. The building is divided into several zones, in which different release systems were installed, such as underfloor heating, climate ceilings, fan coil units and air socks. This method allows future building users to experience the indoor climate and comfort of the various systems for themselves in this exceptional building.
New ways of working
It goes without saying that employees are key to our new office building. The design and planning of the building is fully compatible with the unique way of working that Encon has developed over the years. In addition, the building is adapted to the insights inherent in this new way of working.
The sequence of the offices along the Infinity trail corresponds to the steps that a project goes through within our organisation. It allows the departments that communicate the most intensively with each other during a project to be closest to each other.
The engineers work in small groups and in spaces that are separated from the surrounding area by glass so that they can work without being disturbed. Because we promote telecommuting, there are also flex offices in addition to the permanent offices. The former are not grouped on a single location, but are spread over all the other offices. This allows a newcomer to easily join up with the team working on his or her project. In addition to offices, our building also offers meeting rooms and areas for creative thinking. There is also a lot of technology to be found in the building. After all, technology plays an important role in Encon's activities and therefore deserves a supporting role in furnishing the building.
Integration with nature
To Encon, the environment is perhaps even more important than technology. After all, protecting our environment is what drives everyone working at Encon. That is why we made a conscious choice to devote as much space as possible to nature. Inside Infinity, too, staff and visitors should be able to experience what drives us. By using purpose-built windows we have managed to have a row of trees run through the entire building. Because real grass does not survive in a building, we have laid artificial grass in certain places. As a result, we are sometimes literally standing in the middle of nature. We also called on a certified ecologist to design an eco-friendly garden.
Presentation of Infinity by children