Energy Machines and Wihlborgs set a new standard for school sustainability with geothermal heating and cooling at NGG

March 12, 2024

Wihlborgs A/S is constructing a new school in Hørsholm, Denmark to serve as the new home for Nordsjællands Grundskole & Gymnasium (NGG). Drawing inspiration from the UN’s 17 world goals, the school is designed with sustainability at its core. The new NGG aims to achieve the second-highest sustainability class with a DGNB Gold certification, emphasizing a low CO2 footprint. Additionally, the school's operations will focus on sustainability as an integral part of students' education.

Wihlborgs has engaged in an Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) contract with Energy Machines ApS as the turnkey energy solution provider and operator for the new NGG. Energy Machines is proud to play a significant role in helping to make Wihlborgs’ and NGG’s ambitious sustainability goals a reality.

A geothermal integrated energy system will supply 100% renewable heating and cooling for the 12.500 sqm school property, accommodating approximately 1350 students and staff. In contrast to conventional energy systems where new energy is continuously generated, the integrated system allows energy to be efficiently moved between geothermal ground storage and the school property through the use of a heat pump and flexible software controls. The school property will have no connection to district energy providers, and the only energy used by the system will be the electricity required for powering the heat pump and groundwater pumps.

The system is anticipated to function with a staggering 650% efficiency, equivalent to a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of approximately 6,5 for combined heating and cooling.

Using the ground as a thermal battery, and software to control it

The geothermal energy storage system employed at NGG is Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES), which utilizes an aquifer to efficiently store energy. With ATES, the system captures and stores summer heat underground, reserving it for winter heating purposes. Conversely, in winter, the system stores cold temperatures underground, retrieving them later to provide cooling during warmer seasons. Energy Machines’ highly flexible software platform, EM Control, provides continuous system optimization to ensure the system always runs at peak efficiency with zero energy wasted.

Education meets the energy systems of the future

The integrated energy system is also designed to offer a valuable educational opportunity for students, with the heat pump energy central and geothermal well houses constructed with transparent walls and made available for hands-on lessons. NGG students, staff, and visitors will have a unique chance to explore the inner workings of geothermal integrated solutions and understand how software plays a crucial role in driving the transition to green energy.

"Wihlborgs is delighted and proud to announce our collaboration with Energy Machines in developing an innovative heating and cooling system for our new NGG school in Hørsholm. We look forward to implementing this efficient energy system, benefiting both the school and us as long-term owners. Additionally, we hope for future collaborations on our other properties. This project emphasizes Wihlborgs' commitment to green initiatives and sustainable practices," says Martin Dagnæs, Project Developer at Wihlborgs.
Accelerating the green transition with Energy-as-a-Service

Under the EaaS agreement, Energy Machines designs and owns the energy system while absorbing all responsibilities and costs associated with installation, operation, maintenance, and risk. Through EaaS, asset owners gain financial freedom, reduced risk, and the opportunity to embrace a greener and more resilient future.

“We’re extremely proud to be working with Wihlborgs on the NGG project. Wihlborgs’ dedication to the green transition sets a commendable standard in the industry, and we are excited about the positive impact our collaboration will have on both the project and the broader community. Furthermore, we are pleased that our Energy-as-a-Service business model is applied to NGG, which, outside of the financial implications, ensures risk is allocated to those best equipped to handle it,” says Nicolas Kastbjerg, CEO at Energy Machines.
Construction has begun

We are thrilled to have begun the construction process by drilling the site's test wells in February and March 2024, with the drilling being carried out by Brøndboringsfirmaet Brøker A/S. This phase will allow Energy Machines to quantify groundwater flow and gather important data about the thermal storage conditions of the underground aquifer at the new NGG.

Project details:

Energy system: Heat pump integrated with Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES)

Geothermal storage wells: One pair of wells at ~100m depth

Heat pump: EM1 with Danfoss Turbocor®, equipped with simultaneous heating, cooling and hot water

Heating capacity: 580 kW

Cooling capacity: 580 kW

Heating delivery and efficiency: 700 MWh/year; COP* > 3,5

Cooling delivery and efficiency: 700 MWh/year; COP > 20,0

Integrated system efficiency: Expected COP > 6,5

*Coefficient of Performance (COP) measures efficiency by indicating how much heating or cooling energy a system provides for every 1 kWh of electricity it consumes. It is calculated as the ratio of the amount of useful heating or cooling energy produced to the amount of electrical energy consumed.

About Energy-as-a-Service

Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) by Energy Machines removes financial barriers hindering the transition to green energy within the commercial real estate sector. With EaaS, asset owners experience immediate savings on capital expenditures and financing costs related to energy system upgrades, while benefiting from a locally integrated green energy system. Tenants achieve their ESG targets and improved indoor climate at a cost comparable to what they are paying today. 

Energy Machines carries the full design, installation, operation, and maintenance risk for the period of the contract, providing asset owners with additional security.  

Through EaaS, asset owners gain financial freedom, reduced risk, and the opportunity to embrace a greener and more resilient future. 

About NGG

Click here to learn more about the new NGG