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FloraHolland offices retrofitted with PCM-based induction units

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Two years ago, Orange Climate Autarkis and Verkade Klimaat began installing PCM-based induction units in one floor of Royal FloraHolland’s 10-story office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands. Known as Crystal Beam Modules, the Autarkis units are designed to enhance occupant comfort and reduce cooling costs by 20 percent.

Royal FloraHolland office building
Royal FloraHolland office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands.

Walter van Kampen, Autarkis commercial adviser, says the flower industry trade organization liked the results and asked his company to retrofit additional floors. So far, Crystal Beam Modules have been installed on five floors. On another, a modular, PCM-based Crystal Climate Ceiling has been installed. Each floor is about 500 square meters.

“We changed from PCM beam modules to the Crystal Climate Ceiling on the eighth floor because more ventilation air was needed (it’s a mainly a big conference floor with meeting rooms) and because the customer wanted a different look,” van Kampen said.

How do the systems work?

“The building’s big chillers are only cooling down the fresh air to about 16-18 Celsius,” he explained. “Total cooling is achieved by the smaller chillers and the PCM material. Our customer compared the indoor to ‘a turtle.’ It remains nice and stable for a very long time and it does so every day.”

Royal FloraHolland office building
PCM panels are mounted above suspended ceilings.

Autarkis hopes to convert more floors next year. In an email interview, he provided additional information about the project and his company.

Q: Tell me about the history of Orange Climate Autarkis.

A: Orange Climate Autarkis has been focusing on PCM to air systems since 2009, mainly in the Netherlands. We have our own testing facilities (laboratory) in the town of Holten.

Our main focus is using PCM in three main areas:

1. Offices, micro datacenter and residential houses. In office buildings to reduce power, energy and CO2 emissions. We are able to do that with the highest standards in thermal comfort and a healthy (fresh air) working environment.

2. For micro datacenters we have a 90% energy reducing, without any HCFC or CFC. It’s an eco-friendly method of cooling smaller datacenters. These MER / SER datacenters are everywhere: in office buildings, in power plants in hospitals and so on.

3. We supply a PCM floor heating system that in combination with a heat pump and solar panels can store solar energy in the thermal "PCM battery" inside the floor heating system. All our products are installed and mounted by us with the help of our PCM knowledge partners.

Q: What is your role at the company?

Royal FloraHolland office building
An inorganic salt-hydrate PCM is stored inside HDPE containers.

I am a specialist in a lot of building-related topics – energy, ventilation, HVAC, cooling, heating, sustainability and so on. My role is both technical and commercial. I got intrigued by PCM because of the simplicity of the idea. All of the products and PCM services we deliver have been co-created by my colleagues Harry Schmitz (R&D), Henk Willem van Dorp (owner) and myself. I am also the only (lonely) person who travels to customers to see how our PCM solutions can help them with their efforts to create a sustainable solution.

Q: Who makes the PCM you use in your products?

A: PCM Technology produces our PCM and our PCM storage panels. It is co-owned by Salca BV and Autarkis. We mainly use an inorganic salt-hydrate stored inside a HDPE container.

Q: Do you or Verkade Klimaat have data quantifying the effect of your technology on energy consumption and cost?

A: We have not quantified the data in that way. We kept the main power for cooling and heating to basic levels and added PCM to create the most perfect and comfortable indoor climate. Without adding to the energy bill. And no complaints from people at all.

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