Roofs have huge potential for renewable energy technologies like solar panels, solar water heaters and other innovative roof coverings. The Sustainable Energy Test Garden, located on the roof of the HU University of Applied Sciences, is one of the first five roofs in the Province of Utrecht’s Sustainable Roofs Plan.
Goals and approach
It is a garden with an area of 500 m2 and ten different roof technologies that forms the basis of a challenging technical project with very practical applications. The garden generates electricity that is fed back to the grid where possible. The heat produced is used for warm water for taps and for heating. The possibilities for cooling using this heat are being examined.
The roof garden contains a multitude of high-quality experimental installations in the field of renewable energy. The techniques being investigated are only used to a very limited extent in the Netherlands, or their performance is not yet clear. The wide variety of solar panels and solar water heaters is unique. They can be linked together and combined with other renewable energy technologies and conventional energy technologies. Additionally, there are sustainable roofing materials and a wind turbine in the roof garden.
In collaboration with the business community, students, teachers and professors carry out practical and applied research to determine how roof technology can make optimum use of renewable energy. They measure and analyse the performance of the installations and work on the development of monitoring systems and the storage of renewable energy. This garden can simulate the situation of six households and is a unique learning environment for students and companies alike.
The Test Garden, in combination with the Energy Lab, is a true testing ground for all kinds of short- and long-term research and education.
The Test Garden contributes to the strengthening of education in the broadest sense: graduates in all sectors of education, from vocational education to academia, will be able to gain a working knowledge of innovative renewable energy technologies. The business community, too, benefits from the knowledge gained and the latest developments. For example, construction companies and suppliers can participate in guided tours and master classes on the roof.
Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, approximately 20 companies and the University of Utrecht.
Province of Utrecht, Platform Betatechniek, approximately 20 companies.