Research centre
Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment

Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment

The special research centre Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment was created in 2009 through a cooperation between TNO and Zuyd University. From this period TNO and Zuyd are working together on the development of new products for sustainable energy in the built environment. Zuyd concentrates on the demonstration and validation of the developed products.

The cooperation between TNO and Zuyd has been in place for a number of years and there are many contacts between Zuyd staff and TNO staff in the context of internships and research assignments. TNO's vision and Zuyd's focal points dovetail and it is important for TNO to be affiliated with a university of applied sciences that is a leader in the fields of chemistry and the sustainable built environment. 

In the period 2009-2018 the main focus was on the development of building integrated solar energy building products. Since 2018, in addition to the development of BIPV, work is also being done on the introduction of energy-saving windows and energy storage systems. At the start of 2018, the collaboration between TNO and Zuyd was extended and TNO and Zuyd will work together on the aforementioned topics until at least 2022. The lecturer of this special lectureship is Zeger Vroon. The associate professorship is positioned within the SURD professorship within Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

Making existing buildings more sustainable
The 'District of Tomorrow' at the Avantis cross-border business park in Kerkrade is a living lab. The buildings there are an example of new construction. In the coming years, however, the research group also wants to focus on innovative products for existing or renovated buildings. Lecturer Zeger Vroon says: "In the next thirty years, our region will have to renovate many homes that currently have a very low energy rating. If we then consider integrating solar panels in the roof and walls, for example, we can make the existing buildings even more sustainable. Zuyd can play a major role in this".

  • Research and projects

    Within the special lectorate we work on three types of products, which play an important role in the energy transition in the built environment:

    1. Solar PV 
    2. Storage systems
    3. Energy-saving windows

    Solar PV 
    The following projects are working on PV solar energy systems:

    • TKI Smart Hyper PV
    • Interreg PV op Maat
    • Interreg Rolling Solar
    • TKI Colourmax
    • Opzuyd Werkelijk bouwen aan BIPV
    • TKI Extase
    • Raak MKB Flow4Nano

    Storage systems
    The following projects are working on storage systems.

    Energy-saving windows
    The following projects involve energy-saving windows.
    -    Interreg Enef
    -    Raakpro WOF

    The Research Centre contributes to education and professionalization by:

    • setting up and supervising internships and final projects;
    • providing assistance to set up study units;
    • participating in the Chemistry and Electrical Engineering programme committees;
    • collaboration with the Chemelot Innovation Learning Labs Centers of Expertise (CHILL) and Sustainable Built Environment (S-Built).

    The special lector participates in the programme discussions of CHILL and S-Built to make a contribution to the implementation of the curricula of the involved study programmes that link up with developments in the professional field and knowledge domain. The special lector will supervise lecturers in their professional development to aid their development from lecturers to senior lecturer-researchers. The lector will also teach at the Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering study programmes.

  • Publications


    [1] MJ Ritzen, C.P.W. Geurts, Z.A.E.P. Vroon, T.H.J. Haagen, R. Rovers, (2016): Environmental impact evaluation of energy saving and energy generation: case study for two Dutch dwelling types Building and Environment (pdf). pp. 73 – 84.

    [2] C.P.W. Geurts, Z.A.E.P. Vroon, R. Rovers, M.J. Rltzen, (2017): Comparative performance assessment of a non-ventilated and ventilated BIPV rooftop configurations in the Netherlands Solar Energy., 389 – 400.

    [3] M.J. Ritzen, Z.A.E.P. Vroon, A. Lupisek, R. Rovers, C.P.W. Geurts, (2017): Environmental impact comparison of a ventilated and a nonventilated building integrated photovoltaic rooftop design in the Netherlands: Electricity output, energy payback time, and land claim Solar Energy, 304 – 313

    [4] G de Amorim Scares, M Theelen, D Roosen, A Masolin, L Franssen: Interlaboratory comparison of photovoltaic performance measurements using GIGS solar cells, Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS), 2017 IEEE International, 31-34.

    [5] Mirjam Theelen, Supratik Dasgupta, Zeger Vroon, Bas Kniknie, Nicolas Barreau, Jurgen van Berkum, Miro Zeman, (2017:) Influence of the atmospheric species water, oxygen, nitrogen andcarbon dioxide on the degradation of aluminum doped zinc oxide layers. Thin Solid Films 565,149-154.

    Mei 2016 De Limburger - Zonnepanelen straks op maat gemaakt 

    [1] Ritzen, M. J., Vroon, Z. A. E. P., Geurts, C. P. W., & Rovers, R. (2015). BIPV field tests in the Netherlands: performance and environmental impact. Poster session presented at European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (EUPVSEC, 14-18 September 2015, Hamburg, Germany, Hamburg, Germany).

    Juni 2015 Limburg Onderneemt - Volop kans voor Solar Industrie  

    [1]  Marieke Burghoorn,1 Dorrit Roosen-Melsen,1 Joris de Riet,2 Sami Sabik,2 Zeger Vroon,1,3  Irina Yakimets 2 and Pascal Buskens,1,4,  Durable Single Layer Broadband Anti-Reflective Coatings for Plastic Substrates Produced by Full Wafer and Roll-to-Roll Step-and-Flash Nano-Imprint Lithography, Materials 2013, 6, published 2013

    [2] Pascal Buskens, Mariëlle Wouters, Corné Rentrop, Zeger Vroon, A brief review of environmentally benign antifouling and foul-release coatings for marine applications. Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, 2013, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 29-36.

    [3] Mirjam Theelen, Krista Polman, Nicolas Barreau, Henk Steijvers; Jurgen Van Berkum, Zeger Vroon, Miro Zeman, Influence of deposition pressure and selenisation on damp heat degradation of the Cu(In,Ga)Se2 back contact molybdenum. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

    [4] M. Theelen, T. Boumans, F. Stegeman, F. Colberts, A. Illiri, N. Barreau, J. van Berkum, Z. Vroon and M. Zeman, Degradation behavior of ZnO: Al for CIGS Solar cells. Solar energy Materials and solar cells. Published 2013

    [5] M. Ritzen, B. van de Meijden, R. Rovers, Z. Vroon and C. Geurts, A comparison of office facade renovation solutions in The Netherlands based on different environmental assessment tools and the calculation of an office facade solution with minimal environmental impact, Published 2013

  • Cooperation

    The research center cooperates with the following partners:

    • Avans University of Applied Sciences
    • Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN)
    • Holst Centre (independent R&D center)
    • MEC Leuven (independent R&D center for micro-elektronics and nanotechnology)
    • Fontys University of Applied Sciences
    • RWTH Aachen University
    • TNO Industrie en Techniek
    • University of Technology Eindhoven
    • Maastricht University 
    • Several small and medium entreprises
  • About the lector

    Lector Zeger VroonZeger Vroon was appointed as special lector for the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences as of 1 March 2010. Zeger graduated at Utrecht University in 1991 in storage phosphors. His interest in chemistry and science started with his love for fireworks and chemicals. At high school he was also interested in geochemistry and sustainable energy. He was awarded his PhD in 1995 at the University of Twente for his research in zeolite membranes. 

    Following his PhD he started working as a researcher at TNO Eindhoven specializing in sol-gel processing. Here, Zeger worked on the production of sol-gel inorganic coatings and powders for the petrochemical, automotive, solar, and high-end equipment market. More recently he has been working at TNO on the production of optic inorganic coatings for solar cells and light management in solar cells. 

    Since 1996, Zeger has been supervising Chemistry and Chemical Engineering students from Zuyd for their internships and final projects at TNO. When the relationship between TNO and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences was strengthened in 2008, Zeger started working at the Research Centre one day week as of June 2009. Zeger is affiliated to Zuyd University of Applied Sciences for 0.4 FTE while continuing to work at TNO for 0.6 FTE. The special Research Centre is partly funded by TNO. 

  • Team members


    Wendy Broers
    Wendy Broers obtained her Master's degree in Building Technology at TU/E in 2000, specialising in sustainable building technology. Until 2008, she worked as a sustainable building consultant at various organisations and agencies. Since 2008, she has been working as a researcher and lecturer at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, in the BBE programme, on the subject of making the built environment more sustainable. She was involved as researcher and project leader in several research projects on sustainable area development (IEA Annex 51: Energy efficient cities, EOS LT Transep-DGO: Transition in energy and process, PALET: Parkstad Limburg Energy Transition), sustainable energy concepts for existing housing and monitoring (Interreg Modlar, TIORC, TKI TRECO).  Since March 2017 she is working on her PhD research at Maastricht University (ICIS) in which she investigates the sustainability of the existing housing stock using an interdisciplinary socio-technical approach. Her mission is to contribute to the sustainability of existing housing stock in the region and beyond by conducting research, advising municipalities and teaching students. 

    +31 (0)6 18 22 28 58 / 

    Alex Masolin
    Dr. Alex Masolin received his Bachelor Degree and Master Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Udine, Italy. In 2012, he received his PhD degree in Electronic Engineering from the KU Leuven, Belgium. His PhD dissertation dealt with silicon solar cells wafering technology and it was pursued at imec, Belgium. He continued his academic career as postdoctoral researcher at the department of Electrical Engineering at the KU Leuven, Belgium performing research on PV monitoring, Smart PV modules and integration of renewable energies into the SmartGrids.  Since 2015 he is a lecturer and researcher at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen, Netherlands teaching energy-related subjects in the Energy Engineering program study and doing research in several regional, national and European project (Raak, Interreg and H2020) with tasks during the phase of project acquisition, management and execution.

    +31 (0)45 400 64 38 /

    Ili NagyIli Nagy
    Ili has been employed at Zuyd University since November 2006. She has worked at various positions within the organisation (Commercial Management, Expertise Centre Entrepreneurship and the research centre for Innovative Entrepreneurship). After working 6 years in the economic domain, it was time for a change. Since November 2012, Ili has been working at the Faculty of Science and Technology where she supported the team members of the research centre. As of 2017, her focus is on supporting lector Zeger Vroon. Ili is involved as a supporter in various national, Euroregional and international projects and is involved in organising project events, project meetings, etc. In addition to her work for the research centre , Ili, as programme secretary, supports the professors' advisory board Bèta. She is also involved in making connections between entrepreneurs, companies and institutes who are looking for cooperation with professors within Zuyd University.

    +31 (0) 6 24 77 61 82 / 

    Joost Rijkers
    Joost Rijkers graduated from the Faculty of Construction in 2005 with a specialisation in Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 2016, he obtained his Master's degree in Management Science with a specialisation in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. In his master study, he conducted research on factors that are barriers to innovation within tenders in the public construction sector. Until 2012, Joost Rijkers worked for a consultancy and engineering firm as a project engineer and consultant. Here he gained extensive experience with construction process organisation, innovative contracts, tendering and contract management, especially in projects in the GWW sector. 

    At Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Joost spends part of his appointment teaching the Built Environment bachelor's programme. In addition, he is trainer and programme leader for various educational programmes of Zuyd Professional. And in the lectureship Sustainable Urban ReDesign he is active as a researcher for projects PV OpMaat and Rolling Solar. His ambition is to contribute to a sustainable built environment. Joost believes in an approach in which science, professional practice, public organisations and education play a responsible role and together arrive at concrete techniques and methods to realise this ambition. Joost has an eye for potential cooperation opportunities and finds great satisfaction in organising and facilitating this cooperation.

    +31 ((0)45 400 64 93 /

    Michiel Ritzen
    Michiel Ritzen received his Master degree on Architecture, specialization Technology in Sustainable Design, from Delft University of Technology in 2004 and received his Doctor of Philosophy degree on the environmental impact assessment of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) from Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) in 2017.  Until 2010, Michiel Ritzen worked for several architectural firms as an architect, sustainable energy expert and environmental impact assessor. Currently he is a senior researcher at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen, the Netherlands and operating agent of IEA PVPS Task 15 on Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). His current research covers the design, realization, testing, and environmental assessment of BIPV solutions, and covers the design, realization, testing, and environmental assessment of circular building solutions. Michiel Ritzen is board member of the international initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE), board member of Environmental Advisors and Architects (EnviAA), and member of the advisory board of the European H2020 research project PVSITES.

    His mission is to bridge the gap between scientific based theory and practical reality in the field of sustainability in the built environment through research, education and field testing. With the combination of in-depth knowledge of sustainable building and practical experience, he strives for the highest level of sustainability possible in his research and education.

    +31 (0) 624460817 /

Research Centre for Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment
Nieuw Eyckholt 300
NL-6419 DJ Heerlen