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Energy Academy, Groningen

BREEAM Outstanding label for the international research institute EAE

The Energy Academy Europe (EAE) in Groningen provides education, conducts research and fosters innovation in the field of energy, while working towards the transition to a sustainable energy future.

Broekbakema, pvanb architects and Arup based the design of the new institute's building on a range of sustainable solutions. We provided the building services and the climate concept.

Sun, earth, water and air

By sloping the building from one floor up to five from south to north, the "solar capturing" on the photovoltaic roof panels and the penetration of daylight into the interior are optimised. The building annually produces electricity that equals its consumption.

The ground water is used for cooling and heating the air and the water. A small pond is integrated on the south side to collect the rainwater, which is used for the irrigation of the plants and flushing the toilets. 

The design connects outdoor air, collected on the lower south side, to the air demand on the buildings' higher northern side. Pushed though a 'thermal labyrinth' by natural powers such as sunlight and wind stream, the airflow is put to optimal use. The winter garden forms an intermediate space between indoor and outdoor.  When it is too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, the winter garden can be disconnected from the offices or the atrium (as shown in the picture).

The outdoor conditions are bridged using plants extensively in the winter garden and individual greenhouse garden glass shafts at the north façade, connected to the thermal labyrinth.

The atrium, which forms a link between two buildings, exhausts the ventilation air from all surrounding spaces.


The users can choose between naturally and fully conditioned spaces. The natural areas add quality as they have a positive effect on the users' well being and the social climate. All in all, the design means to inspire others to aim for a real variety in working environments.

In order to meet the requirements of the specific work spaces, all end-users were extensively consulted throughout the design stages.

EAE offers space to 1,600 professionals. The design includes research facilities, educational rooms, labs and offices. Here researchers, students and entrepreneurs meet and invigorate each other to prepare the international energy facilities for the next generations. The building was awarded the BREEAM Outstanding label and won in 2017 the BREEAM Award.