In only its first year of operation the Euro 3.5M centre for Wicona’s facade products, in Bellenberg, Germany, has shown outstanding energy results.

The centre, which provides in-house testing facilities for new products and project-specific facade solutions, features roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels which generate more than enough power for heating, lighting and operating the entire building.

According to Wicona this makes the building one of Europe’s first energy-positive production buildings.

It is also highly glazed to allow most of the product testing to be carried out without the need for artificial lighting.

Other energy-efficient features of the new test centre include the use of heat pumps and a closed water circuit that minimises water consumption – needed in large volumes for facade tests.

Wicona general manager for the UK, Bob Welsh, said: “This building, which showcases a Wicona facade, is designed to be highly sustainable as part of our ongoing commitment to minimising impact on the environment.

“The demand for facade solutions for zero energy and energy-positive building projects will continue to increase as a result of more stringent Building Regulations and the drive to further reduce carbon emissions – so this is a fantastic example of that in practice and what we can achieve with our own products and facilities.”

Daily energy monitoring has, according to Mr Welsh, shown the building has generated enough energy to be self-sufficient and to deliver a significant level of electricity into the national grid.

Luke Walsh

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