The Zuidas is the financial business hub of Amsterdam; a district that is constantly under development. It is important that the office buildings are heated and cooled in a sustainable manner. A new heating and cooling pipeline was commissioned some years ago to deliver on that promise.
The buildings are cooled by pumping water from deep in De Nieuwe Meer. The lake water, which at this depth has a temperature of 6 degrees Celsius, goes to a cold production plant where heat exchangers provide extra cooling when needed. Heat is supplied by Nuon from a heat transfer station. Construction of an Integral Pipeline Tunnel (ILT) was a principal requirement. not only to transport the heat and cold to the office complexes, but also to include the piping for other facilities such as water, gas, sewage, rainwater, medium-voltage and cables for internet and telephony. The tunnel is approximately 500 metres long, has several extensions branching off, and supplies heat and cooling to a multitude of offices in the Zuidas of Amsterdam.
About the project: expansion of heat and cold supply
The tunnel runs at about 1 metre under the ground, is 500 metres long and is three metres wide. During the construction, the existing underground infrastructure had to carefully be considered. What’s more, the project was extended several times with additional connections and follow-up works, including the re-routing of the pipeline underneath the cancer centre of the Amsterdam Medical Centre. Before work could commence on the project, the existing underground infrastructure first needed to be properly mapped and new permit applications needed to be submitted. Another pipeline route was also drilled under the Amstelveenseweg. The space for the pipes proved to be very tight at this location because of the existing water mains from a water tower that supplies the southern part of Amsterdam. This was just the beginning.
Additional connections followed to the RAI conference centre and the KPN tower. The last extension involved drilling in the direction of Beethovenstraat. Here, the cold pipes had to be routed through a plot of land that was up for sale at the time and has since been sold. That’s why two cooling pipes including casing pipes are now being shortened. This also poses quite a challenge, as there is actually no space. Despite all the obstacles, Vicoma has found a way to reroute the pipes, provided the stress calculations performed by an external independent party confirm that the solution is also approved for implementation.
Vicoma’s role: responsible for engineering and project management
Vicoma was involved in the project from the very beginning and was responsible, among other things, for the engineering of the heat, cooling and gas pipes in the ILT. Vicoma also took care of project management, such as managing the teams who carried out the surveying work, applying for permits granted by the municipality, outsourcing certain calculations to specialist companies, coordinating the preparations of the implementation work, and following up on the project after implementation, such as resolving issues that arise after the construction phase. A good example of this is the solution that Vicoma found for the inadequate pipe support at one specific location that did not move with the pipe expansion. To guarantee the required support, Vicoma installed Teflon plates at these critical positions, as they are much less rigid than the steel previously used.
Despite the complexity and many expansions of the heating and cooling supply system over the years, the office temperatures in the Zuidas of Amsterdam are now comfortable all year round.