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04. Municipal building Arnestein: Middelburg NL

Posted January 13, 2020


In 2016, the Dutch government decided that an important part of the energy transition must be implemented in the built environment by disconnecting houses and community buildings from the gas grid in the next 3 decades. In a country fully dependent on this fuel for heating, this means a gigantic conversion of our heating infrastructure is needed at a high pace.

There is no blueprint or manual for how this can be achieved. In Middelburg we want tackle this challenge from a practical angle: by exploring and demonstrating our options to go gas-free in practical trials. We see the maintenance and refurbishment of our municipal buildings as an opportunity to take steps towards this gas-free future, reducing CO2 emissions and demonstrating solutions at the same time.

In this pilot we target the Arnestein building. It is situated at short distance from the city hall and next to the waterway that connects Middelburg with the sea. It is an industrial building dating from the 1960s/70s. The building is used by the Foodbank (charity supplying food to the poor) and to host community activities like Repair Cafés. We intend to renovate Arnestein to make it an example of sustainable, fossil free community buildings.

Circular construction is the guiding principle for this renovation. Reusing existing buildings is often the most sustainable way of building. And it meets the needs of actors for which sustainability is important. Sustainable renovation, energy conversion and repurposing of landmark buildings like Arnestein has a major influence on the image of the surrounding area.

This pilot is part of a complete renovation of the Arnestein building, and exclusively concerns the sustainable heating installations. In the feasibility phase of the pilot we will explore the most efficient combination of measures for gas-free heating and energy efficiency, incl. waste-heat storage, intelligent ventilation and cooling, PV panels to power the heating system and insulation measures.

This pilot will deliver Arnestein as a 100% gas-free building (reduction of 50.000m3 gas) and reduce its electricity use by 65% (50MWh). This leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 105 ton CO2/year.

This project fulfils a key role as an early adaptor and example for other urban developments. We will use the conversion process and final result as a showcase to motivate and activate residents and other building owners in the municipality and Zeeland province to invest in sustainable heating.