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KIT Turns Off the Gas

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The KIT building, a national monument dating from 1926, is moving away from gas, making it the largest national monument to do so in Amsterdam. In future, underground thermal storage will be used to heat our historic building and our hotel on the KIT campus.

Renovation of the Tropen Hotel

The reason for our switch to heating without gas is the renovation of KIT’s Tropen Hotel. The hotel building – a concrete tower dating from 1969 that originally served as accommodation for international students and guests at KIT – is being completely renovated inside and out, including the central heating system that also provides heat to the main building.

With the renovation, led by Wiel Arets Architects – who are also designing the interior that includes a new restaurant – the Tropen Hotel will become one of the most sustainable hotels in Amsterdam and is expected to reopen in June 2023.

The Tropen Hotel will be a stunning building that fits in every way with our beautiful campus by the Oosterpark, our mission to contribute to a sustainable world, and the development of KIT as the hotspot for sustainability in Amsterdam,” says Mark Schneiders, KIT CEO.

A Sustainable Monument

The plan to make both the hotel and the monumental KIT building more sustainable is a challenge. With an area of around 33,000 m2 (approx. 5 football pitches), KIT will be the largest national monument in Amsterdam to move away from gas.

“If we succeed, then in principle, it can be done anywhere,” says Louis van den Berghe, KIT CFO, “It is a substantial investment, both in money and time. We have been working step by step for seven years to make the building and the surrounding area more sustainable.”

For example, four years ago, KIT started replacing gas-heated water with electric in the coffee corners and purchasing induction hobs for KIT’s hospitality kitchens.

“But it’s also about smaller things that contribute to a more sustainable and enjoyable living and working environment, such as good organic fairtrade coffee and vegetable plots for employees and local residents to use on our campus,” says Louis van den Berghe.

Heritage Without Gas

The replacement of KIT’s gas boilers with underground thermal energy storage (TES) is being supervised by Royal HaskoningDHV. The company, with which KIT has been working for years on making the KIT building more sustainable, has the necessary experience with TES projects – including in the heritage sector.

“The monumental character of the KIT building, which also houses a museum, makes this project complex, and a challenge for us,” says Rik Maaijen, Building Services Consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV.

The project involves an investment of around €3 million, an amount that KIT expects to recoup within 10 years. It also makes KIT less dependent on fluctuating energy prices.