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Revolutionary revolving door generates energy

Literally stepping into the Natuurcafé La Porte at Driebergen-Zeist train station is a good move for the body and the environment.

By Katie Dominy / 13-01-2009

Natuurcafé La Porte acts as both a tourist information centre for the Heuvelrug Utrecht national park, and an organic restaurant.

Walking into Natuurcafé La Porte directly from the train station Driebergen-Zeist, it is precisely this access point that showcases one of the key sustainable features of the space.

Its entrance is an innovative revolving door that is the first of its kind to generate energy. The door was built by high-tech specialists Boon Edam and features a transparent glass ceiling panel that incorporates LED lights that show how much energy is produced every time the door is pushed – the lights turn red, orange or green depending on how hard you push. Green lights are the goal of course. The door is estimated to save approximately 4600 kWh of energy per year, with the excess energy that isn’t needed for the door to be used for the heating or cooling of the building.

Natuurcafé La Porte was created alongside the refurbishment of the train station, both designed by Amsterdam-based architects RAU who specialise in ecological design. The building aims at being climate-neutral through a number of integrated features including ground tubes which store heat or cold to reuse for heating and cooling depending on the season, low energy floor heating/cooling system, solar hot water, natural flax insulation and triple-glazing. In the future, there are plans for a wind turbine and/or solar cells to generate extra electricity. Where possible, natural and natural-based and/or recycled materials finishes were chosen including bamboo, recycled car tyres and marmoleum.

The director of Natuurcafé La Porte Helene van der Vloed is well-known in the Netherlands for her work in the area of corporate social responsibility particularly with her ‘Triple P’ principle of ‘People, Planet, Prosperity.’ All the meals served in the restaurant are 100% organic and ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible. In addition, people with a disability are encouraged to work as part of the catering team. The restaurant also offers a take-away system whereby train travellers can order their meals in advance from the restaurant’s website and it will be ready for them to pick up by the time their train arrives in the station.

With the restaurant, van der Vloed aims to make a small statement about sustainable building and a healthy business which keeps in balance with people and the environment.

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