Interview Ton van de Beek

“We have really ambitious goals when it comes to energy,” says Ton van de Beek, Director of the Department of Property Management (UVB). The new building of the Faculty of Social Sciences will be generating all the energy it uses.

“I try to give energy more prominence on the agenda. I studied architecture at the Eindhoven University of Technology and specialised in energy and building engineering physics, so I am quite familiar with this topic.

TonvandeBeekWe have really ambitious goals when it comes to energy. For example we want to further expand our thermal storage system to save fuel. This system involves pumping around deeper layers of groundwater. In the summer, cold groundwater from the winter is used to cool our buildings down. The resulting warmer water is stored and used in winter to heat the buildings.

We want future new buildings on campus to be as energy-neutral as possible. To begin with the new Faculty of Social Sciences building, which will generate all the energy it uses.

We already have many solar panels on our roof, but we also want to install sun cells in the facades. This is not yet widely done in the Netherlands, but it’s an interesting option for walls that get a lot of sun exposure.

Reuse of materials is also something we find important. In renovating the dentistry building we did not completely destroy the old building, but instead tried to reuse materials as much as possible. The tiles and the wooden wall lining on the Western side for example.

In the new Social Sciences building we also want to reuse demolition materials such as stones. These can be pulverised and used for road surfacing. And the wood can be reused to make furniture.

I am not an environmental freak. I sometimes throw plastic into the regular garbage bin. But I do keep track of my energy use at home and I try to consume less and less every year through better isolation. In the near future I also want to install solar panels.

In ten years’ time we will have completed all the major building projects. I think that our campus will look great: all faculties will have beautiful energy-efficient buildings. And the campus will be beautiful and green, because that is sustainability too!”