University of Ghent Data Centre and IT-lab

“An eco-friendly ally for timber-frame construction”

  • Unilin Ghent
An energy-efficient tower

The University of Ghent has built a high-tech tower in Zwijnaarde to house a data centre and IT-lab. The whole construction project is twelve storeys high. A heavy concrete frame was built around the central core, but the building was still missing an outer shell. Because the university is seen as a role model for all things ecological, the bar was set high in the area of sustainability. Thomas Buyse, director of Jonckheere Projects, considers that “the façade absolutely had to contribute to the tower’s energy efficiency.”

“The University of Ghent is a role model for all things ecological, so the bar was set extremely high on that front.”

Thomas Buyse, Jonckheere Projects
A solid and sustainable structure

“Timber-frame construction with prefab wall cassettes is an excellent alternative to CO2-intensive building materials,” says Thomas Buyse. We made insulating wall panels in our workshop with BioSpan VapourBlock panels from UNILIN, division panels for the inside. The P5 certification of this wood solution gave us the necessary guarantees of a solid frame, which is crucial for timber-frame construction at great heights.”

Thanks to the Top-Finish surface, the BioSpan Vapour- Block is an airtight construction material. By protecting a thick pack of insulation with an airtight shell, the façade could offer exceptional insulation properties. That is essential given that the University of Ghent wants to be able to use the residual heat from the servers as a source of energy.

Thomas Buyse explains how it works with an analogy: “The combination of insulation material and an airtight envelope is like wearing a windcheater over a woolly jumper. The BioSpan VapourBlock panels prevent warm air escaping which offers constant and energy-efficient climate control. This is essential because servers are very sensitive to fluctuations in temperature.”

“Airtight boards are essential to be able to use the residual heat from the servers as a source of energy.”

Thomas Buyse, Jonckheere Projects
An integrated vapour barrier

Adding a damp-proof foil afterwards is a thing of the past thanks to the integrated vapour diffusion with a high resistance to damp. The boards have a consistent μ-value of 185 over the whole surface. On that front, BioSpan Vapour- Block scores significantly higher than traditional wooden board materials. Thomas Buyse highlights the importance of a vapour barrier: “The outside of the wall must be vapour-permeable but the inside must have a vapour barrier. In this way you can prevent the insulation material from getting wet and losing its properties and you don’t give mould a chance.” Thanks to the integrated properties, BioSpan VapourBlock is a user-friendly construction material that lends itself to fast installation. “By opting for timber-frame construction with BioSpan VapourBlock for interiors, we could build at lightning speed and have a flexible schedule,” says Thomas Buyse. “After the installation, it suffices to seal off the seams, joints and gaps with tape.”

“BioSpan VapourBlock scores significantly higher than traditional wooden board materials on the vapour-diffusion resistance front.”

Low formaldehyde emissions

“BioSpan VapourBlock is one step ahead of the competition in all aspects. Because of its low formaldehyde emissions, this is also the best construction board for hospitals, schools and public buildings.”

“There is ever-growing demand for energy efficient or passive buildings. I think that BioSpan VapourBlock will play a major role in our eco-friendly future. It is a durable and user-friendly construction board,” says Thomas Buyse.

“BioSpan VapourBlock is one step ahead of the competition in all aspects.”

Thomas Buyse, Jonckheere Projects