November 24th, 2021
Endress+Hauser Customer Experience Centre, A New Net Zero Standard
Our design team was committed to fulfilling Endress+Hauser’s vision of creating an inspiring, flexible and beautiful place for its employees to work. Its twin goals of advanced sustainability and engaging employee experiences worked in unison throughout the design process. We prioritized natural daylighting, indoor air quality and created opportunities for movement within and around the building.
Endress+Hauser views creating incredible places to work as an investment and gift to their staff, seeing the value in quality design that benefits employee well-being.
The glass enclosed process training unit (PTU) is prominently positioned at the southeast corner, acting as the building’s public face and offering educational engagement with Endress + Hauser’s equipment and systems. Visitors enter the facility through the main entrance on the south façade alongside the PTU, welcomed by a large reception desk and company showroom. Views to and from client facing areas create transparency and activation.
Designed as an internal street and bathed in natural light, the triple height atrium acts as the heart of the Centre. Translucent operable clerestory windows surround the perimeter of the atrium, providing daylighting and making the most of passive ventilation. Interior windows bring light and transparency to the surrounding multipurpose training rooms and customer care cafeteria on the south side. These large, bright spaces are adaptable, with mobile furniture and flexible partition walls to accommodate varying group sizes and uses.
Together with the Endress+Hauser team, we evaluated employee workflow and identified the need for flexible spaces that accommodate large, organized group work and spontaneous collaboration. An employee entrance is located on the western edge of the building, bringing employees from the parking area into the large atrium. A signature stair connects the ground level with the open concept second floor that houses employee working areas. The design is grouped into neighbourhoods, with slight shifts in layout for different work types.
A combination of open work areas, breakout rooms and enclosed offices are organized around a central walking track, creating openness and encouraging walking meetings. A bright and flexible employee kitchen on the south side can be broken up into smaller spaces for meetings and working sessions or opened completely for large catered events.
The facility is punctuated with coffee nooks and seating areas to promote impromptu exchanges and casual meetings. A glass enclosed breakout room and the main boardroom project into the two storey PTU space, integrating the areas and bringing daylight into the interior.
We strategically introduced glazing in spaces where employees would be spending the most time. We considered the interior spaces as equal importance to the exterior, with interior glass partitions, clerestory windows and framed views to bring daylight further into the building.
Acoustic performance of the facility was as paramount as daylighting. Carpet flooring and strategically placed horizontal and vertical acoustic panels minimize sound transference supporting the function of the open concept design.
Local, warm and engaging materials were introduced throughout, creating visual interest and improving comfort. Engineered white oak wood feature floors compliment large scale dark grey porcelain tiles on the main floor, and carpet throughout the second floor improves acoustic performance. Details such moss feature walls in the kitchen and a centralized ficus tree in the atrium bring natural elements indoors. Colourful feature walls and bright blue adaptable furnishings in the boardrooms and workstations adds a playful aesthetic.
Extending the commitment Endress+Hauser has to the health of their staff, an employee care area was incorporated at the northwest portion of the ground floor, housing a bright, well-equipped fitness centre with change room and showers, a wellness room and a multifaith room.
An important design objective was to provide access to the outdoors. A large exterior patio extends along the southern façade of the second storey, with direct connections to the employee kitchen, office workstations and breakout space. With metal screening for sun shading and privacy, the expansive patio provides opportunities for outdoor meetings, large events and informal gatherings.
The building envelope is a combination of white aluminum composite (ACM) panels punctuated with punched windows and pre-cast concrete panels. The non-glazed portions of the PTU were treated with local stone cladding, bringing natural and familiar elements to the visitors’ entrance. Vertical shading and vertical fins are positioned on the building’s exterior to reduce glare, provide diffused natural light and support the sustainability goals of the building.
The Quest for Net Zero
During our initial design discussions, we understood the commitment that Endress+Hauser had to the creation of incredible places that benefit the health of their employees and the planet. Originally, the brief called for a LEED Silver design. With this inherent company culture as a driving force, we worked with the stakeholders to win unanimous support for new, more ambitious goals as first private Canadian project to concurrently aim for LEED Gold certification, and net zero carbon and net zero energy designation.
With the support of a client team well-versed in advanced technologies, we examined each aspect of the building and systems design. Data informed our team’s decisions, as the team worked together to analyze how to achieve greatest design value, balancing capital cost, sustainability targets, and long-term operational goals. This data then informed every decision that followed, including how we developed the high-performance building enclosure, creative mechanical system solutions, sustainable materials selection and construction practices. The data tells us we can anticipate the site will produce more energy than the facility will require on an annual basis.
In order to establish a baseline to work from, our team established an energy budget target based on a 40% reduction in energy consumption from the recently constructed Endress + Hauser facility in Calgary. We created an energy budget matrix and applied layers of energy reduction strategies, beginning first with the base design, then incorporating passive design strategies (IE), occupant and internal gain strategies, and finally active design strategies such as carbon offsets, geo fields and onsite solar.
We created a detailed energy model to establish the performance potential of the building and systems design. Our energy model considered the following inputs: location, client, site context, occupancy, floor plans, massing, elevations, enclosure assemblies, air tightness, lighting, receptacle loads, ventilation, HVAC systems, temperature setpoints, plant equipment, plumbing fixtures, operation schedules, pumps and fans to establish the estimated annual building energy usage.
Our team was challenged by the wide variety of spatial typologies within the building including, office spaces, the process training unit (PTU), multipurpose training rooms, workshops/repair areas, calibration process rooms, kitchen and cafeteria areas, fitness room, and warehouse space. Our energy model had to consider the building holistically, modeling each space independently in order to accurately predict the energy requirements of the building.
Our selected HVAC system was designed to achieve Net zero carbon and Net zero energy designation through Canada Green Building Council standards, in alignment with federal, provincial and municipal targets. With our clear sustainability targets in mind, we selected a separate dedicated outdoor air unit for ventilation and fresh air from the internal loads. The internal loads are handled by several indoor heat pumps, complete with individual controls. We utilized a geo field as a the central plant, chosen because it met the calculated needs of the building, advanced our sustainability targets and minimized the spatial needs of the mechanical room, effectively giving programable and usable space back to the building. In addition to the geo manifold, we added a central heat pump, heat exchanger and a buffer tank to accommodate the system volume. In collaboration with geothermal consultants and a controls and commissioning agent, our team designed a well considered controls sequence to optimize the operations of the mechanical equipment.
To continue monitoring the building performance once the facility is operational and enable occupant behaviour changes, a user-friendly and interactive central control system by JCI named the “KISK” was installed. Through visual data, the system generates maintenance requests, compares real-time building performance against the energy model and educates the building users and visitors about the facility’s state of the art building systems.
The dedicated outdoor air (DOAS) units were a VRF type dual core energy recovery type air handling units. Beyond the DOAS units, VAV boxes were installed for demand control ventilation and CO2 sensors were installed strategically throughout. The ductwork was sized to meet fan power targets outlined in the energy report including 0.5 W/CFM for the DOAS, 0.3 W/CFM for the terminal heat pumps. Variable volume diffusers were included in the closed offices to allow for temperature control for each space.
A domestic hot water heat pump with storage tank was utilized for the hot water heating. The mechanical plumbing and drainage design included new domestic cold water (DCW), domestic hot water (DHW) and sanitary (SAN) services to plumbing fixtures in washrooms, laboratory sinks and specialty equipment. The fire protection system was designed to include provision of sprinkler system for the facility and special attention was paid to the PTU room and platform.