European Commission Headquarters, Brussels

The Berlaymont building, which houses the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, underwent extensive renovation in the 1990s. Its original curtain wall façade offered little protection against heat and cold, which resulted in high energy consumption and discomfort.

European Commission Headquarters European Commission Headquarters European Commission Headquarters European Commission Headquarters

Video showing how the solar shading louvres move during the course of one sunny day.

During the course of the renovation of the original façade, Colt provided approximately 20,000 m² of movable glass louvres which provide solar shading, natural ventilation and protection from the elements.

These louvres form an active façade which responds to the changes in light intensity and temperature. The active façade not only reduces solar heat gain and therefore cooling loads, but also reduces glare whilst optimising the use of natural daylight. The louvres reduce the ingress of noise and in winter they close thereby reducing heating bills. The primary energy consumption of the building has been reduced to 218 kWh/m², 50% lower than a similar building as modelled.

Colt provided not only the louvres and their supporting structure but also the complete control system.