Wansdronk Architecture

René Wansdronk - Architect
W.G. Plein 286
1054 SE Amsterdam
+31.(0)6.19716671 cell

Emporium summary - building concept

The Emporium plan is a building concept for zero-energy or solar energy buildings that use energy and materials economically. This construction can provide the climatic facilities for housing living bodies. A warm water storage container and collectors provide the space heating and hot water supply, and a cold water storage container and collectors deliver the space cooling and cooling source for the refrigerator. The water circulates without pumps; instead it uses thermosiphon, and therefore requires no high-grade energy such as electricity or fuel. A lightweight construction supports the water storage containers. This mass of water also replaces the hot and cold accumulating capacity of the building mass. The building concept is suitable for free-standing, connected, or high-rise home and utility buildings in all climate zones. The technical feasibility has been proved and confirmed. The economic feasibility is characterized by zero-emission, biodiversity, safety, health, comfort and lifelong durability.

Nowadays the building sector accounts for a substantial part - 30 to 50% - of CO2 emissions, largely due to cement production and climatic control, for example. Using zero-energy buildings with a light wooden construction, whereby water for energy storage replaces the building mass, easily reduces this CO2 emission. The zero-energy buildings cause a substantial reduction in the total CO2 emission figure, thereby creating room for market sectors with more expensive reduction options to let the CO2 emission grow parallel with the economic growth. The lightweight construction also saves building material as well as the extraction of raw material, and reduces building transportation - at present 25% of the building costs. The reduction of energy, CO2 emission, material and transportation, contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. The building sector is known to have the highest number of fatal accidents, disabled workers and absentees. By moving the building construction from the building site to the workshop, safety and working conditions will improve drastically. The buildings are manufactured industrially and sectionally. This prefabrication will also cut building waste, at present the largest contributor to the stream of waste. By using heating and cooling ceilings in the rooms, which have a low temperature, which is favourable for solar energy, in combination with a high position, the circulation of hot space air is avoided. By using these radiation ceilings, the air temperature can be lower, so that less energy is wasted with natural ventilation. The energy saving of present newly built homes is responsible for an increase in asthma, especially among young people, due to strongly reduced fresh air ventilation. This lifelong illness can be avoided by means of better ventilation and less hot air circulation. For this reason, the building concept combines natural ventilation with low temperature radiation ceilings, and thus provides a healthy and comfortable inner climate. The building concept is limited to the construction and therefore allows flexibility within the floor plan. Due to the increasing demand in the area of housing older people, the Government aims to supply homes that are suitable for lifelong habitation. The primary functions - living, sanitary and sleeping - are easily accessible in these homes. Free-standing solar homes have these functions on the ground level, and therefore meet these requirements.

Sustainable building organizations have characterized the Emporium as: exceptional in energy saving, an extremely material-efficient building method, creating good conditions for an excellent quality of the inner environment, and a multi-disciplinary innovation, being very special for this reason alone. In short, an example of sustainable building that far exceeds today's ambition levels.

Emporium summary - business model

A business model will support the product development and market implementation of the Emporium plan. This business model will diminish the present barriers for innovations within the building sector, the tax system, and the social process as much as possible.

The building sector is project-dependent and relation-oriented to a great extent, whereas an innovation requires a project-independent and market-oriented approach. The Emporium business model will provide the opportunity of transferring innovation knowledge, and of creating contact between market parties within the project-dependent and relation-oriented building sector. The Emporium building concept serves as a milestone for an unequivocal innovation direction, for long-term realization of projects. Building parties that have project-independent and market- oriented turnover possibilities can invest in a step-by-step adjustment of the building process in the direction of the innovation. The business model also provides a contact field where market opportunities originate, and - by equalizing expectations and determining ambition levels - buildings can be realized in shorter periods of time. As a result, the initial adjustment of the building process brings innovation one step closer. The support for the business model will be determined by the relationships between the participating market parties. The participation of financers and producers - the building clients and industry - will only strengthen this support.

Time, energy, and material are three factors that play a significant role in today's economy. Time is expensive because it is the most heavily taxed factor, while energy is taxed less and material hardly at all. By using material and energy, time is saved, which is profitable from a tax point of view. Nature, however, seems to strive for the most economical material usage, by applying energy and time. This means that nature considers materials to be the most expensive goods. There is as much energy as the sun can offer, and time plays hardly any role. Consequently, the material and energy economy of the building concept can also be a means to reform the tax system. In all likelihood, this reformation of the tax system will have a much greater impact on the intended durable society than the reformation of the material system only. At present, the adjustment of the tax system is blocked by the material system, which in turn is completely structured by this tax system, and therefore a gradual tax reformation will have little effect. The building concept offers a way - step-by-step through each market sector - to completely reform the tax system. In today's building process a specific amount of tax is paid for time, energy and material. With the Emporium building concept, a house will yield the same tax amount, but the divisional structure will be altered. Material and energy will be taxed more heavily, and time less. Material and energy saving opportunities offer, within the same building costs, the possibility for extra time investments, without resulting in higher taxation. These time investments stimulate employment. At present, the European building sector is facing decreasing employment and declining profits.

In this century, the implementation of important innovations seems to be determined by two influential factors. The driving force is the integration of several disciplines, and the restraining force is the complexity of the social process. Due to the required communication involved, an interdisciplinary process is sometimes less efficient. With an integral approach such as the Emporium building concept, the solution can often be more effective.