Smart HVAC control solution for the I-tower at WTC Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Monday, April 29, 2019

In 2017 World Trade Center (WTC) located in Amsterdam at the ‘Zuid-as’, renovated one of the nine buildings, the 7 stories high I-tower. A high-end HVAC system, LED lighting and other technical improvements established a smart and modern office environment. It lives up to the highest customer, energy efficiency and indoor comfort demands. Danfoss AB-QM PICV valves and NovoCon®S digital actuators play an essential role.

After 15-years of duty it was decided to modernize the HVAC system of the I-tower at WTC. The building had been rented by a single company for all that time. When the company decided to leave WTC, a unique opportunity to renovate the buildings’ technical systems raised.

The new HVAC system required to be controlled by a new to establish Building Management System (BMS). In the offices it was important to have a flexible control solution that would not need hydronic adaptions to the system. This is often a problem in case of new renters or refurbishments by existing renters. For the office workers a high-end comfort solution providing both heating and cooling was determined. As WTC focusses on improving the energy efficiency of their buildings constantly, a smart solution providing HVAC data for Active Energy Management (AEM) was another requirement.

System overview

Royal HaskoningDHV, the consulting engineer, and Engie, the BMS System Integrator, teamed up with KPI projecten who would supervise the renovation on behalf of WTC. For the optimal indoor comfort, they determined to use about 430 climate panels. The panels will provide heating in winter time and comfort cooling in summer time. A four-pipe system with a 6-port change-over valve avoids cross flows of heated and chilled water.

For the Building Management System (BMS) they chose for a Schneider Electric system with BACnet bus-communication protocol.

Smart control solution

With the hydronic and BMS systems in place the team needed a solution for the hydronic balancing and control of the system. Once in contact with Danfoss a smart solution, perfect fitting the BMS with BACnet protocol, was aligned and agreed.

For the hydronic balance and control functionality the Danfoss AB-QM was selected. The Danfoss ChangeOver6 6-way valve was added to provide the climate panels with either heated or chilled water. With this combination the hydronic aspects of the solution were in place.

For the connectivity and HVAC data exchange with the BMS system the Danfoss NovoCon® S provided the perfect solution. “The Danfoss NovoCon is an essential component in the system, because it establishes the connectivity with the BMS system.” says Jan van Eijk from Engie Building Automation. The NovoCon digital actuators provides real-time insights to HVAC relevant data via the BMS. The data can be analyzed and used to optimize the system, for more effective service or predictive maintenance. According Jan Bakker from Royal HaskoningDHV: “There is a market trend towards connected technologies, to web-based solutions. There it is increasingly important to collect and use data. And that requires the use of smart products.”

By using the NovoCon’s remote I/O option, the actuator also controls the heating <> cooling change-over. Once the conditions require the system to change from one to the other operation mode, the NovoCon S actuator adapts the design flow through the AB-QM. At the same time, it lets the ChangeOver6 valve switch from position to stop e.g. the heated water flow and open the chilled water flow.


Connecting the hydronic HVAC system to the BMS system establishes a high degree of HVAC flexibility. It avoids the need to make adaptions to the hydronic system when changes occur. In case of new renters in the office, or the need to refurbish an office floor with e.g. extra walls, hardly impacts. The NovoCon digital actuator can remotely be re-assigned to another office area or specific room. Neither the pipes nor the actuator cabling needs to be adapted to the new situation.

In this project the flexibility of NovoCon® S also showed when multiple room temperature sensors and room temperature controllers needed to be integrated. A special junction box was designed to connect the NovoCon with these PT 1000 sensors as well. This saved the use of more BMS components and I/O ports.

About World Trade Center Amsterdam

World Trade Center (WTC) provides office spaces to their customers in almost every large city in the world. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the office space covers about 125,000 m2. The offices are rented by a wide variety of more than 300 – often international – companies. WTC and its surroundings are like a small, dynamic city, located in the center of the financial district ‘Zuid-as’ of Amsterdam. This area of Amsterdam, and WTC in particular, has a high focus on developing highly sustainable buildings. WTC has a BREEAM-NL certificate with a score of *** (very good) for the ‘asset’ and ‘management’ of the H- and I-towers. The certificate was obtained in October 2017 for a period of 3 years.

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