Make the veranda apartment more sustainable during Solar Decathlon Europe

On Friday, Solar Decathlon Europe started in Wuppertal, with a team from TU Delft: Symbiotic Urban Movement (SUM) to start. The students started working on the issue of ‘making porch apartments more sustainable’.

During Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE), a sustainability issue is tackled every two to three years, which a group of students will have to work with for a longer period of time. This time it is about an apartment belonging to the Staedion housing association, which should be made more sustainable. This takes into account the residents, sustainability, the environment and the whole thing should be life-sustaining. Everything must be made of sustainable materials. A total of 60 to 70 students participate in this project, from areas ranging from architecture, environmental management to communication. Breman Installatiegroep and the wholesaler Rensa are also contributing to the project.

Staedion rents out many apartment blocks in The Hague and has been a customer of Breman for many years. Wholesaler Rensa was already involved and suggested the students ask Breman to take up the installations in the apartment. Breman Woningbeheer Zuid-West was then contacted directly by the students.

Energy positive result

The students had already worked out their ideas quite extensively and came up with a follow-up question to Breman: how does an apartment become energy positive? In other words: how does the building generate more energy than it costs? In addition, the installations for the apartment also had to be prefabricated. They asked Breman to contribute ideas for the installation design and whether Breman could install it all. A good collaboration followed between Breman Woningbeheer Zuid-West and Breman’s Energy Transition Knowledge Center. The design that was already there was explored along with the students. And this applied not only to the heating, but also to the ventilation, sewerage and rainwater drainage. The knowledge center helped with the calculations to make the whole energy positive.


This project fits in well with what Breman stands for, and the company could also learn a lot from it itself. For example, in prefabrication. How to create connections between all parts of the workshop? For example, there was a great collaboration with Jan Snel. They are experts in prefabrication and can build modularly and circularly at their various locations. The installation has already been assembled at Jan Snel’s factory. Breman’s own installation factory also helped make SKID (various products in steel frame).

Make the veranda apartment more sustainable during Solar Decathlon Europe

At the pilot site for Den Grønne Landsby in Delft (photo above), the test apartment has partly been recreated as a kind of model home. The Green Village is a ‘living laboratory’ for sustainable innovations. This prototype has been standing here for two weeks. It was then separated and transported to the Wuppertal in Germany for Solar Decathlon Europe. The prototype was reassembled as Lego bricks. An international jury will examine whether everything is running smoothly and whether the whole is actually energy positive. It is also checked whether everything meets the conditions set in advance. There are various thematic introductory prizes and the final award ceremony is on June 24th.

New way to install

The collaboration with the students and the other partners gave Breman a good insight into a new way of installing. Where there is more attention to prefabrication and energy producing installations. Circularity was also an important topic. Breman has already run three other pilots in The Green Village in recent years. As a result, the company is increasingly being contacted by students and start-ups to install or test installations. In this way, knowledge can be shared within sustainability, and Breman also keeps himself informed of the latest developments.

“It was a very nice project to work on and think with the students,” says Remco Bleijenberg, project manager Breman Woningbeheer Zuid-West. “They have thought through the entire project from A to Z with advice from the parties involved. After the design was completed, they started working at the Jan Snel factory in Montfoort. Here, under the supervision of Jan Snel’s men, they assembled the prefabricated modules themselves, including simulation of the building and top-up. The modules and installations had to be made in such a way that they could also be disconnected and reassembled later. So this should be taken into account in all designs. In the Jan Snel factory, our men installed the built-in pipes for sewerage, central heating and water. ”

Make the veranda apartment more sustainable during Solar Decathlon Europe

“It’s an interesting concept,” Bleijenberg continues, “since the installation we made in it is still very little used. Here we have mounted a Zehnder ComfoAir Q350 with heat exchanger and connected it to a heat pump from Panasonic Aquarea. It all works like an air heater. In addition, all sorts of other sustainable products have been used. Such as the Meed Energeyser shower WTW, solar panels from Kameleon Solar on the facade of the top-up module. There is even a Delft motif on it. We have also installed a system where the wastewater is drained to helophyte filters and then recycled for toilet flushing. All in all, a good job. “

Installation design

“We have installed an air-to-water heat pump. The idea was to place the outdoor unit in the glass staircase. The air is heated by the glass and the sun. The air is then used by the heat pump for heating. A heat recovery unit is also installed for ventilation. The heat demand of the houses was so low that the houses could be heated by the ventilation air alone. The heat pump provides the hot tap water. It is all supplied with electricity from solar panels. There are also two waste disposal systems: the shower and toilet water go to the sewer. The rest of the wastewater is treated naturally for, among other things, toilet flushing. Finally, solar panels have been placed on the roof and facade of the apartment. ”

See also this video about the project:

Read all about the prototype here.

Follow Solar Decathlon Europe daily through the channels of the organization SDE and SUMs.

Also read:
Successors MOR team shifts focus to apartment blocks

Also read the articles on previous Solar Decathlons.

Text: Breman Installation group
Image: SUM

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