State-of-the-art facilities showcase best practices and use Dow Corning
technologies and sustainable architecture to enhance environmental, health and safety performance
Using sustainable architecture principles and its own materials and technologies, Dow Corning
has completed construction of two innovative, energy-efficient, high-performance facilities that will significantly improve the company’s ability to meet customer needs, as well as enhance its environmental, health and safety performance.
The first is a 32,000 square meter distribution center in Feluy, Belgium, that will allow Dow Corning
to support future growth in the region, Belgium and Europe. The facility doubles the size of the current warehouse and was constructed in only 15 months.
The second is the Solar Energy Exploration & Development (SEED) center located in Seneffe, Belgium. The 9 million Euro (13 million $) addition to Dow Corning
’s global innovation capacity includes a Synthesis Technology Center and Solar Application Center and aims to advance fundamental research in new silicon-based materials and solar cell development.
“In the construction of those facilities, we have used and prototyped many of Dow Corning
’s innovations and novel applications, pushing the limits of technical possibilities in optimizing energy use for a laboratory and distribution facility, and answering the sustainability demands of new construction standards,” said Massimo Rebolini, Europe Middle-East and Africa Commercial Manager Construction Industry.
European Distribution Center
The main entrance of the distribution center, a surface of 240 m2, is glazed with Dow Corning
transparent structural silicone adhesive (TSSA). This adhesive, developed for point-fixing in glazing, combines high transparency, strong adhesion, thermal stability and excellent weatherability – all characteristics key to improving a building's lifespan and efficiency. Furthermore, Dow Corning
’s structural glazed facade technology allows the creation of modern construction with larger, more efficient windows that enables both providing better thermal insulation and letting in more daylight.
Also, more than two km of concrete floor and wall joints inside the building have been sealed with Dow Corning
silicones. Silicone sealants perform well under the stress of UV radiation, extreme heat and cold, and acid rain.
also invested in special features to enhance energy efficiency. To reduce energy consumption the company further increased the levels of roof insulation and installed heat recovery facilities on the HVAC (heating
, and air conditioning
) systems. To save artificial lighting, the use of natural lighting was maximized via the use of roof lights and where possible motion lighting controls were installed. The structure of the distribution center is also equipped to support solar panels on the roof.
“The new European distribution center uses optimized workflows and will significantly improve Dow Corning
’s materials delivery capabilities, and quality as well as customer service performance,” said Klaus Hoffmann, Regional President – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).“It will equip our company for continued sustainable growth in Europe, to even better serve our customers with the innovative products, applications and services, on which we have built our reputation.”
“The SEED complex will accelerate innovation and growth,” said Dr. Gregg A. Zank, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Dow Corning
Corporation. “By having this facility in Belgium, Dow Corning will have access to very talented scientific people throughout Europe to work collaboratively on sound science and technology to develop sustainable products and applications for our customers.”
The facilities were designed and built with sustainability in mind, using novel Dow Corning
technologies as well as clean energy sources to achieve some of the highest energy-efficiency standards.
For example, the center is entirely covered with Dow Corning
’s new Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIP), which provide high insulating value in materials up to five times thinner than conventional insulation products, enabling maximal use of internal space. The center also uses building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), a set of PV modules mounted as sun screens in front of the windows, which reduce the need for cooling in the office area and simultaneously serve as power generators.
As a result, for the SEED building heating costs are anticipated to be 75 % lower and electricity costs 70 % lower than an equivalent conventional construction. In addition an air-recycling system will allow the SEED laboratories to achieve a dramatic 65 % energy gain compared to conventionally designed labs, representing a saving of 290 tons of CO2 per year.
“These new buildings underline our efforts to apply our innovative thinking and technology to act responsibly in our own operations, to protect our environment and our people, and to help our customers to meet their goals,” said Massimo Rebolini.