AkzoNobel research facility moves to energy efficient smart building

AkzoNobel has relocated a research facility in the United States into an energy efficient smart building, and has joined calls to improve the energy efficiency of Europe’s building stock.

The Dutch company’s $10m (£7.8m) investment in the new US facility — a retrofit of an existing building — has transformed its biggest energy user in North America into one of the smartest and most energy efficient.

Completed in November last year, the Strongsville Technology Center in Ohio is only a third the size of the former location and is designed to use less than a third of the natural gas, electricity and water. AkzoNobel has also purchased Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates to offset 100% of its energy use for two years.

The new facility features efficient lighting, energy and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, as well as designated areas for recycling paper, cardboard, aluminium and plastic.

During the building phase, 87% of non-toxic construction waste was recycled and diverted from landfill. Sustainable building materials were also used, including adhesives, paints, coatings and flooring, the company said.

AkzoNobel was among 42 leading businesses in the building sector that recently urged the European Commission to take action to ensure that all buildings in Europe have a very high energy performance by 2050.

In a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-President Frans Timmermans, AkzoNobel’s corporate director of sustainability, André Veneman, joined other business leaders in calling for a target of “Nearly Zero Energy” building stock by 2050, providing an opportunity to create jobs and economic growth.

“It is clear that the Paris commitment cannot be honoured without drastically reducing energy consumption in our buildings; the EU building stock emits over one-third of our CO2 emissions, three-quarters of our buildings are inefficient, and up to four-fifths will still be in use in 2050,” the letter stated. “We need EU-wide action to drive the transformation of our inefficient building stock and make it a resilient component of the energy system of the 21st century.”

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