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Nieuw vanaf september 2023

Senne Vanderplaetse, alumnus of Howest's Energy Management programme, was elected Junior Energy Manager of the Year. With his bachelor's thesis on the energetic optimisation of the HVAC system at Van Marcke's head office, Senne prevailed over three other finalists.

The award highlights talented, young managers who create sustainable solutions for the energy issues of today and tomorrow. A cash prize of 1,000 euros was offered to the winner.

Optimalisation of Van Marcke HVAC-system

Winner Senne Vanderplaetse recently graduated from Howest with a Bachelor of Energy Management. For his bachelor's thesis, he studied how the heating and cooling system of Van Marcke's head office in Aalbeke could be optimised. To do so, he first mapped out the structure, the control strategy, data from measurements, and issues with comfort. This analysis formed the basis of a hydraulic simulation model. For each change in this model, the impact in terms of energy consumption and comfort was determined and then translated into optimisation of the control of the HVAC system. "Senne's bachelor's thesis yielded great results, especially since it involved a new building. 41% less pumping energy and a 13% efficiency increase in heat pumps was good for a total savings of 18%. In concrete terms, our consumption drops by 50 MWh a year, or the consumption of 14 families," says Tom Prinzie, Technical Manager at Van Marcke.

Internship becomes workplace

After his internship and bachelor's thesis, Senne was immediately able to start working at Van Marcke. Stage supervisor Tom Prinzie: "As an HVAC Calculator, he now applies his experience from his internship and thesis to our company's entire building portfolio: more than a hundred shops and offices throughout Belgium. Because Howest's Energy Management training is closely related to actual conditions and combines practical, local experience with the global energy theme, Senne was immediately employable. The cooperation with Howest is therefore a clear win-win."

Knowledge sharing as basis for award

"I was somewhat surprised when I emerged as the winner," said the newest Young Energy Manager of the Year. "While this award may be a personal one, it is equally a crowning achievement for the entire engineering team at Van Marcke. Their knowledge sharing and support, together with Howest's coaching, made my undergraduate thesis a success. The fact that it ultimately earned me this title may have to do with the topical nature of my research and perhaps even more so with the conclusion of my thesis. No one really expected that so much energy could be saved even in a new building. Now I will extend the methodology to Van Marcke's other buildings. They are a lot older on average, so the savings potential there will probably be even greater."

Een dag in het leven van een student Built Environment!