How aug·e optimises energy consumption at Besix’s Dutch head office

In 2019 Besix Nederland opened a new head office in Dordrecht. The Besix building, an imposing 1,800 m3 glass smart building with room for some 80-100 employees, is a textbook example of what the innovative construction company has stood for for years: excel in creating sustainable solutions for a better world. Or: how Besix itself sets a good example of the better world to which it aspires… (And how aug·e plays a crucial, guiding role in these plans…)

Smart building with focus on well-being

The comfort and well-being of employees and visitors were the central focus of the project right from the start. The heart of the office is an open, transparent atrium with lots of light and plants. The office encourages flexible working and offers staff a variety of workplaces. ‘And yet I think the energy component is the most striking thing about our new office building,’ says Jeroen Philtjens, Director of Besix Nederland. ‘The building itself learns from energy use and anticipates it.’

The headquarters of Besix Nederland truly is a smart building. Sensors continuously measure light, air quality, temperature and the presence of people. Much more is going on behind the scenes. Solar panels, heat pumps and energy storage are smartly controlled by linking sensor data to weather forecasts and supply and demand on the energy market.

In this way, the Besix building itself can respond to when and how much energy is used. ‘The building has a very large battery, which can supply three quarters of the day’s consumption,’ says Bert Bakker of Besix. ‘We can also use it to store excess energy and feed it into the grid when there is a high demand for energy.’

44 charging stations pose a huge challenge

When Besix approached us to help them install 44 charging stations, we knew straight away that it would be quite a challenge. The connection between the building and the Dutch power grid is limited to 175 kVA. If you know that each charging station has a capacity of 11 kW, you can immediately see that this is a balancing act. The easiest solution would be to upscale the connection to the power grid. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive solution of all: you quickly end up with a cost of several hundred thousand euros. Besix’s mission for aug·e: make the most of the current situation. It was a challenge that aug·e was only too happy to accept.

Collaboration between different parties

‘We had a lot of experience with controlling the battery, but the charging points for the electric vehicles initially required some trial and error,’ explains Project Manager Michiel Dhont. ‘According to our partner Phoenix Contact, which supplies the controllers in the charging points, this was the first time ever that more than 40 charging points had been controlled locally by modbus. A feat of engineering. We therefore broke the whole process down into smaller steps so that we could gradually increase the complexity and improve aug·e’s algorithms.’

‘According to Phoenix Contact, which supplies the controllers, this was the first time ever that more than 40 charging points had been controlled locally by modbus. A feat of engineering.'

Michiel Dhont – Project Manager

‘Our solution will be rolled out shortly. Before we go live, there are a few issues we need to resolve with our partners. After all, this project isn’t just Besix and aug·e; other parties are also involved: E-Lift is supplying the charging points and Phoenix Contact the controllers,’ says Dhont. ‘Throughout the project, we’ve encountered many unforeseen circumstances and additional challenges, but by working well together and communicating clearly, we’ve achieved a good result.’

The result?

A local gateway reads all relevant assets – the grid, electric vehicles, HVAC installation, battery, solar panels, total load. Based on this, aug·e makes smart forecasts and regulates all assets appropriately. In this way, the Besix building can make greater use of the self-generated electricity from the solar panels. This way, the company not only saves on its monthly energy bill, but also balances its load while maintaining a constant level of comfort in the building.

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