Low energy consumption and maximum use of natural resources. These are the basic principles by which the Connector architects set to work and the result is quite a feat: a building with very high insulation values, large open spaces where natural daylight comes flooding in and lots more technical wizardry that make any visit to Connector a fun and unique experience.
Connector, super insulated!
Brussels Airport has set itself the target of driving carbon dioxide emissions down by 20% by 2020. Which is why the architects have gone the extra mile to make Connector energy-efficient and insulate the building to the highest standards, in amongst other things by going well beyond the requirements of the K-value of 40 as imposed by law.
The K-value represents the insulation value of the building. It is determined based on the materials used, the size of the building and the amount of heat that is dissipated through the roof, the floors, the walls, etc. The lower the K-value, the better insulated and the more energy-efficient the building is said to be.
Connector's K-value stands at 20, which is half the standard required by law (K-40). To achieve this value, Brussels Airport invested heavily in roof insulation (14 to 20 cm), wall insulation, high-efficiency glazing etc.
Natural light – smart design
Connector is keen to offer passengers the widest possible panoramic vista of all airport activities.
To achieve this aim, the architects decided on large glazed window sections on the building's east and west-facing outer walls, lending passengers a great view of the tarmac. The windows hold glazing that delivers superlative insulation to ensure the building is properly thermally insulated and sound-proofed.
In addition, sun blinds have been put up over the windows on the west face and solar fins on the east face, all in aid of preventing the sun from unduly heating up the building.
The building was given a saw-tooth roof with the windows facing north. We are talking of around 1,500 m² in high insulation roof glazing. This allows natural daylight to come flooding in through the roof without things ever getting too hot.
HVAC – smart technologies
Connector is intended to be a pleasurable environment to spend time: pleasantly cool during summer and nice and warm in winter.
However, keeping a large building at the right temperature is no mean feat, especially when you are simultaneously trying to keep carbon dioxide emissions down to the bare minimum. Which is why we invested in an advanced heating and air conditioning installation that uses heat recovery.
Inside the Connector building, LED lighting has been fitted as widely as possible to consume less energy, thereby contributing to the low carbon dioxide emission target.
In addition Brussels Airport Company is building an installation for seasonal thermal energy storage, which is a 100% renewable form of energy. This technology enables us to use cool groundwater during summer to cool the building. The used water is then stored in the ground and heated during winter using a heat pump to heat the building.
For passengers to enjoy the best possible experience when they are at our airport, is important to Brussels Airport Company. It’s even part of its strategy. Connector is intended to take passengers as close as possible to the activities at the airport without the noise becoming a nuisance. Which is why it is important that the building is properly acoustically insulated. To minimise the noise of airplanes taking off and landing, the windows and the roof were treated to high performance insulation which cuts out noise levels above 85 Db, which is comparable to that produced by a hair-drier or a toilet being flushed.
Inside the building too, the spaces have been designed to deliver optimum acoustic comfort, making sure everybody is able to properly hear the spoken announcements without things getting intrusive, and maintaining Connector's peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. In all, 400 loudspeakers are set up in Connector. They are aligned so the atmosphere in Connector stays calm and relaxed.
Let it rain…
The roof that straddles Connector measures 11,000 m². The water that falls onto the roof is collected and stored in a reservoir situated underneath the building. The reservoir can hold 670,000 litres, which equals the amount of water consumed by 98 households over a year. The rain water is used for the sanitary facilities and to clean waste containers.