The Belgian utility provider Infrax has built an innovative office space that is every bit as green as its brilliantly-hued facade. Designed by Crepain-Binst Architecture, Infrax West is focused on reducing its energy consumption with a powerful mix of technologies and design. Located in Torhout, Belgium, this building has successfully reduced its energy load by a substantial 40% of code and recently won the People’s Choice Award for the 2020 Challenge, based on the Kyoto protocol.
The building’s core and facade provide a one-two punch. The building draws thermal energy from a borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) system — basically a large ground-source thermal storage “battery” that is fed by heat pumps. The concrete floors are then heated and cooled though concrete core activation — rather than heating and cooling the air, the floor and ceiling does most of the work via ambient and radiant means. Solar electric panels contribute to the building’s energy needs.
The green skin of the building is composed of panels of varying transparencies, creating an eclectic mix of natural lighting that also opens for fresh air. The ground floor of the building is transparent, open and airy, while the upper offices are private but still full of light.