(ID:270) connect area and buildings...tunnel

ZRi (van Zanten Raadgevende ingenieurs)
ZRi is a company which focuses on building technology, building physics (fire safety, sustainability, acoustics) and project management (tendering and contracting).

AddressLichttoren 32, 5611 BJ, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
ContactAnika Haak, haak@zri.nl
Line of industryConsulting and Design services
Area of expertiseConstruction; Sustainability; Installations, Project managament
Size11-50 employees

Role of company/organisation

ZRi (van Zanten Raadgevende ingenieurs) is a company which focuses on building technology, building physics (fire safety, sustainability, acoustics) and project management (tendering and contracting). This combination of disciplines gives the consultants of ZRi the knowledge and experience to combine both technology and processes in an advice. Therefore, the role that ZRi can play in this project is both as a project- or process manager and as a consultant for building technology.

Opportunities for collaboration

The contribution that ZRi can provide in this project is the expertise in the field of project management and technical advice on building scale. The strength of ZRi lies in the combination of project management and technical knowledge of the building process. Due to this combination, ZRi can be the collaborating factor between managing and technological parties.

Description of idea

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The scope of the municipality Eindhoven is to create a sustainable environment, and eventually an energy neutral city, starting with the buildings of the municipality Eindhoven. The idea of ZRi is to connect area and buildings by creating a tunnel which contains all infrastructure needed for functioning of the connected area and buildings. The underlying concept is that all the polluting infrastructure of the city lies beneath the city and is not visible. Initially, the tunnel is intended for the buildings of the municipality of Eindhoven and for the distribution of heat, electricity and water. This infrastructure can be extended to multiple buildings and areas and other types of infrastructure like biogas and sewer. Requirement for connection to the infrastructure is that the energy in the infrastructure needs to by generated out of renewable energy sources. For example, the electricity-infrastructure is connected to a solar energy park and the heat is generated by a biomass power plant, both outside the city center. A smart grid can be used to create a stable and energy efficient infrastructure. A smart grid is an energy network with a system which measures and controls the energy flows. The advantage of this system is that supply and demand can be adjusted to each other. The tunnel, where the whole infrastructure is integrated in, has multiple functionalities. The first one is the simplification of the maintenance of the infrastructure. When conventional systems are used, all ducts lie individually under the ground. When maintenance is needed, the whole street needs to be opened up, which causes nuisance. The tunnel has a diameter of approximately 2-5 m. This creates a possibility to walk in the tunnel and this facilitates maintainers to have an easier job. The second functionality of the tunnel is the possibility to expand the underground infrastructure. In the future, it might be desirable to create an underground infrastructure for waste, data transportation, office supplies, food or even a possibility for people to walk in. Another expansion of the tunnel could be the connection of a larger amount of buildings to the infrastructure. This idea contributes to the realization of the sustainability ambitions for a couple of reasons. The requirement for all the energy in the infrastructure is that is generated with renewable energy sources. This automatically means that all the buildings which are connected to the infrastructure are provided with sustainable energy. The energy, needed for the infrastructure can be generated outside of the city center. The advantage of this is that the amount of energy produced is not limited by the surface which is available in a city center. This increases the flexibility and the expansion of the infrastructure and therefore the flexibility and expansion of the amount of energy needed in the buildings connected. By creating an underground infrastructure, the polluting infrastructure above ground disappears. To accentuate this change, a green strip (like in Valencia, Spain) can be created above ground. Glazed viewing ports can be created to increase the visibility even more.

Illustrating fileIllustrion question 9 - Tunnel.PNG
Type of ideaservice
Category of ideatechnical; work flow

Stage of development

Underpinned innovation: it has not been used in practice yet but it is well underpinned.

Substantiation stage of development

Utility tunnels are well known solutions for the transportation of heat, electricity and water in large cities. At the moment utility tunnels are under construction in Toronto, London and Tokyo. These tunnels mostly have less functionalities than the tunnel we propose. For example, in Toronto, the utility tunnel is built for pedestrians and sewage water, the tunnel in Tokyo is built for energy-infrastructure. The combination of functionalities that the tunnel in our plan has, is new.

Provability contribution to sustainability

Underpinned contribution to sustainability; this can be shown on the basis of experiments or calculations.

Step in the right direction

All the energy which is used in the infrastructure will be generated by sustainable sources. This means that every building connected to the infrastructure has a sustainable energy supply. The tunnel is flexible, due to the expandability of the tunnel and the infrastructure. Additionally, the infrastructure disappears from above the ground to an underground situation. This increases the visibility of a sustainable city of Eindhoven.

Flexible idea

All the energy used in the tunnel is generated through renewable energy sources. This means that the amount of energy generated can be expanded in the future, because we are never running out of renewable energy sources. This also makes sure that there are no irreversible environmental effects, due to our plan. The flexibility of the system is also present in the possibilities for expendability of the tunnel and infrastructure. The municipality of Eindhoven can grow and the infrastructure can grow with it. When the municipality of Eindhoven shrinks, other buildings can connect to the tunnel and infrastructure. The type of infrastructure can also change with changing wishes and needs of the municipality of Eindhoven.

Good investment

By applying this idea in the city center, the technical infrastructure disappears from the street view. It increases the visibility of the sustainability of the city of Eindhoven. But more importantly, the sustainability of the municipality of Eindhoven increases highly, due to the energy generated by renewable energy sources. The infrastructure also increases the flexibility of the energy distribution.

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