THOREAQ: testing new building and energy technologies in two identical test houses

On 21/12/2021, team Jef Van Oevelen / SVR- Architects (TM JVO/SVR) was selected for the ‘Framework agreement for the appointment of a design team for the implementation of the VITO master plan regarding the development of the site’.
Architectenburo jef van oevelen already designed Thoreaq, one of the two infrastructure projects that are part of the Open Thor Living Lab, the large-scale energy lab that spans Thor Park, the social housing estate Nieuw Texas, the garden neighbourhoods of Waterschei, and KRC Genk. It is a unique infrastructure environment where innovation comes to life, and where governments, businesses and citizens are also actively involved to exchange knowledge.
Innovation and upscaling are therefore essential. THOREAQ – which, like CollecThor, was presented today – aims to develop a permanent research infrastructure in which innovations in the field of renovation techniques, improvement of indoor air quality and integration of energy systems can be tested and validated in real conditions together with companies. These include, for example, product innovations (integrated techniques, improved heat pumps or ventilation systems) but also the coupling, smart control and seamless interaction between these techniques.

The infrastructure will consist of four units: a technical hall, a site lab and two identical buildings similar to existing houses and equipped with techniques and a set of measuring equipment. Moreover, in the two identical test buildings, these technologies can be tested alongside each other, via so-called A/B testing. For example, if we want to know how different heat pumps perform in combination with different insulation techniques, storage systems or solar shading, this can be done in the different test buildings, which will be inhabited by virtual residents.

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