The Transnational Academy was hosted by Foundation Innovat.ION in collaboration with the

Municipality of Amersfoort and HU University of Applied Sciences of Utrecht.

The aim of this Erasmus+ project on Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs), “FROM ZERO TO HERO” is basically to transfer knowledge about ZEBs to young people in Turkey and raise awareness on the benefits of sustainable structures amongst students and apprentices in the construction sector in Turkey and Europe.

During the first week of July, a group of visitors has taken part to a field trip to observe and learn from the best practices implemented in the Netherlands about ZEBs and sustainable constructions.

The field trip included a visit to the Centre of Expertise Smart Sustainable Cities, the EnergyLab of HU, excursions in Amersfoort and Utrecht to ZEBs (“Lake House” and “Insideout Project”) and a reception from Amersfoort Council where the project “Amersfoort CO2-Neutral by 2030” has been introduced.

The visiting group was composed of university students from Italy and Spain and lecturers from Ankara and Gazi Universities, members of the Turkish society of HVAC and Sanitary Engineers and members of consulting companies in Turkey.

After an introductory time to the learning objectives, working methods of the project and about the context of climate change and building performance, during the first day, participants had the opportunity to discover how the Municipality of Amersfoort wants to be CO2-neutral by 2030 (according to the statement of the climate agreement signed in Paris on 2015). A CO2-neutral city where comfort in homes and businesses and better health are guaranteed.

On the second day a fruitful visit to two ZEBs Projects has been held:

  • At The Lake House in Amersfoort, the first energy-generating home, built according to the passive house principle, where the sun provides ‘passive’ warming through large triple glass windows.
  • ‘Inside Out’ Project in Utrecht, that develops and tests a modular renovation system to make high-rise flats energy-efficient. The Inside Out consortium integrates installations in multifunctional building elements on the outside of the house. The project wants to contribute to the serial renovation of 250,000 high-rise flats. The current project phase, ‘Inside Out Prototype test flat’, builds on the results of the prototype home. Thanks to this project, the project partners fulfil the ambition to make the apartment energy-efficient and to keep living costs as low as possible.

The third day, it was the time to visit the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) of applied science where 23 different Techlabs has been created. The Energy Lab, is used to develop a energy-efficient renovation concept for ’60s-70s high-rise apartments. After facilities and equipment have been introduced to visitors, they were accompanied to the BREEAM certified “Heidelberglaan 15” project on campus, an efficient, flexible and sustainable building where sustainability has been central from the start of the design process. The chosen installation concept not only contributes to sustainability objectives, but it also guarantees a pleasant and comfortable indoor climate for the users.

The fourth day of training was focused on seminars on achieving ZEBs. Visitors were asked to take contributions on the future steps to be taken in the project and on what can young people do in their communities. During a visit in Utrecht Science Park, participants had also the opportunities to learn the Stroomversnelling approach to ZEBs and how this or other approaches could be implemented in Turkey.

Dulcis in fundo… a technical excursion to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been the last appointment of the training agenda. Would you have ever thought that Rijksmuseum has a particularly high score in water, energy and waste management? The BREEAM-NL In-Use is the instrument used to monitor the sustainability performance of the building. The Rijksmuseum also has an extensive environmental policy plan that includes the objectives for each sustainability category.

A great training week has come to end and participant feedback has been more than positive!