News: Work comfortably at energy-efficient WTC Schiphol Airport

How a comfortable working environment can also save energy

In 2014, World Trade Center Schiphol Airport was already dedicated to sustainability in a way that would benefit tenants as well. The WTC management signed a new kind of maintenance contract that would reduce energy use on the one hand and further optimise the already comfortable working environment on the other. They did so successfully; the results have exceeded expectations. Find out what this means now and in the future for all tenants in WTC at Schiphol.

Published on: 24 October 2019

The first steps towards a more sustainable working environment

As part of WTC Schiphol Airport’s sustainable building management policy, renewing the maintenance contract with contract partner ENGIE was the first specific step that could be taken in 2014. In the Netherlands’ first Sustainable Management and Maintenance Contract, agreements were made about energy-saving measures – by monitoring and optimising existing control systems – as well as the preservation of a comfortable working environment for tenants – for example, by ensuring fewer temperature discrepancies in the various offices.

In order to achieve both a comfortable working environment and energy savings, automating the monitoring process is not enough. So says Arie Kraaijenoord, Technical Property Manager at WTC Schiphol Airport: “It can happen that a sensor, timer, or cooling element breaks. Systems are able to compensate for a defect like that automatically. So a malfunction doesn’t immediately have to lead to a complaint about the building’s climate. But you do lose some energy, and of course we’re trying to prevent that as much as possible. That’s why we set up physical checks where a maintenance mechanic can discover and fix defects like that more quickly. That way, we can carry out maintenance in a proactive manner and improve climate comfort in a way that doesn’t waste energy unnecessarily.”

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Results exceed expectations

Since the maintenance contract went into effect, it hasn’t happened yet that less energy was saved than agreed upon. On the contrary: the results are exceeding expectations. “We saw immediate results during the first year,” Arie explains. “We then configured the installation to be more precise and mostly saved on gas usage. In the following years, we saved more each year than we’d predicted beforehand. We can even see an upward trend there. For example, in 2018 we used 39% less gas than we did in 2013. And use of electricity went down by 15% in 2018 compared to 2013.”

Another positive result is the decreased number of complaints from tenants about the working climate. Arie: “It remains a compromise between saving energy and maintaining comfort for our tenants. But for us, climate comfort takes precedence. That’s why we make these compromises together with our tenants, for example on temperature or the lighting of certain rooms. Because these decisions follow real discussions, we’ve noticed – thanks to monitoring – that the number of climate complaints from tenants has decreased over the years,” says Arie.

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We’re giving back our share of the energy savings to our tenants. Because of those savings, the energy part of their service costs is lowered. Arie Kraaijenoord, Technical Property Manager WTC Schiphol Airport

Service costs compensation for tenants

WTC Schiphol Airport shares the revenue of the aforementioned energy-saving measures with ENGIE. That’s contractually defined and a motivation to proceed with successful, energy-saving measures. WTC Schiphol Airport itself ensures part of its revenue provides benefits to those who rent office space in the WTC. “We’re giving back our share of the energy savings to our tenants. Because of those savings, the energy part of their service costs is lowered,” Arie explains.

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Future prospect: smart building

Because WTC Schiphol Airport strongly values its tenants’ interests and the realisation of a comfortable working climate, it wants to involve tenants more in its sustainability policy.

At the moment, energy data can be viewed only by WTC Schiphol Airport as the data owner and by the energy supplier. Arie: “Eventually, we want to enable our tenants to see their own energy data and to make individual measurements possible. That way, tenants are made aware of their own usage. We hope to make this happen during the coming years, because we’re transforming WTC Schiphol Airport into a smart building step by step.”

Do you want to know more about WTC Schiphol Airport as a working place? Read more about it here