Energy harvesting provides solution for sustainable housing complex

London, UK and Esbjerg, Denmark

Businesses in every sector face the challenge of operating more sustainably. Construction is no different. As a Premium Member of Green Building Council Denmark, the developer of Esbjerg’s new “A Place To” housing complex sought efficient access control to complement a contemporary style and sustainability ethos. Energy harvesting technology provided the answer.

At A Place To, Esbjerg, more than 400 apartments connect with shared common “co-living” areas. There’s a cafe, fitness and yoga, a big screen, reading nooks and workstations, communal kitchens and more. Sustainability is core to their vision. As they grow — at future properties in Copenhagen, Horsens and beyond* — A Place To aims for the operation and maintenance of all buildings to be DGNB-certified.

Energy saving solution

For efficient access control, they looked for an energy-saving solution which would operate without batteries or wires. Other priorities included integration-readiness. Electronic locking at A Place To must work seamlessly with other building technologies including online readers and door-phones. They wanted cloud-based management, to keep staff in control 24/7 from anywhere. Managers also knew that any solution must be future-proof by design: New features or capacity anytime may be required at any time.

Energy harvesting access management in the cloud

Pulse key-operated electronic cylinders with energy-harvesting technology now secure more than 300 apartments at A Place To: “We went for a future-proof solution which was maintenance-free and where we did not have to change batteries,” explains Peter Høpfner, their COO and Founder.

Pulse devices are self-powered and need no external energy source. The cylinder’s encrypted electronic security is energized with power generated by key insertion. “It was a big plus with Pulse that keys and locks are battery and cable free,” he adds.

A Place To’s security administrators manage access control with cloud-based software. They can change anyone’s access permissions online. Users update their own keys at integrated door-phones or online readers. This ensures resident access permissions are always current.

Each Pulse key also contains an RFID chip: It doubles as an access card for the entrance and communal areas, so tenants only need to carry one credential for multiple openings around the property. This makes it more convenient and efficient.

More sustainable construction

Assa Abloy found that around 60% of the world’s electricity is consumed by buildings, according to the UN Environment Programme estimates. Pulse access control can help reduce energy use — perhaps one of the reasons why the technology won the 2022 Danish Building Centres Energy Award, whose purpose is to “celebrate innovative products and solutions in construction and to increase knowledge of climate-friendly building materials.”

Self-powered and wire-free, a Pulse locking system operates day-to-day without any external electricity source — neither mains nor batteries. Installation is cable-free and low impact, too, which minimizes power consumption at what can be an energy intensive stage in a system’s lifecycle. At a retrofit project, all an installer needs to do is swap an existing cylinder for a Pulse device. It is designed to be simple and requires no drilling.

Increasing demand for green buildings

“In addition, several Pulse cylinder types have an independently assessed Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) valid through 2026,” explains Daniel Totzeck, Pulse Product Manager at Assa Abloy Opening Solutions EMEIA. "The EPD details the precise environmental impact of a device through its full lifecycle. EPDs are rich in details required by projects seeking green building certification, which is increasingly popular worldwide because it can deliver financial as well as ethical benefits for a building owner.”


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