Zuringhof: ‘zero on the meter’ partly because smart façade isolation

The past few years, making houses energy neutral has becoming a reality. In Tilburg, the Netherlands, a building called Zuringhof has been renovated according to the ‘zero on the meter’ project, making it completely energy neutral.

Nul op de meter (‘zero on the meter’) is a Dutch national project initiated by the government to renovate already existing houses and apartments industrially so that they are energy saving, and preferably energy neutral.

The collaboration GreenCore, consisting of several contractors, architects and consultants, and the commissioning party TBV Wonen started a pilot project in 2014, in which four houses were made energy neutral with the use of a heat pump, PV-panels, an air ventilation system with heat recycling, plastic window frames with triple glazing and façade isolation of 30 cm thick.

The same principle has been applied to the Zuringhof, which was finished in July this year. In two months, the building has been transformed into an energy neutral place to live. Zuringhof is the first ‘zero on the meter’ two-story building in the province Brabant and it is the first project in which Sto Ecoshapes (see video, in Dutch) are used. These are prefabricated plaster shapes made from mineral components, which can be produced in any desired shape and colour. This plaster from Sto Isoned is a system in which the isolation plays a part as well. An already existing building is coated with an isolation layer, primers etcetera, before it is finished with a visual layer of the new shapes.

The green colour used for the Zuringhof refers to the plant sorrel (in Dutch zuring), after which the building is named. The architect Arno Kolen wanted to change the look of the building as much as the technological aspect, as well as giving the whole neighbourhood a new impulse.

After the renovation, the rent increased for the occupants, but with the energy saving adjustments, they save about €20 per month compared to what they used to pay.

The project is a pilot. Since the completion, data has been collected about the performance of the building and the experience of the occupants in order to optimise this. If the project proves to be successful, other buildings by TBV Wonen will get the same treatment. For now, it is only possible with buildings with four stories or less, because otherwise, there is not enough space to place enough solar panels to power the apartments.

Photos: Ronald Tilleman, Rotterdam