Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics & IT Cooling Systems through its brand Climaveneta has recently supplied some heat pumps to Corte Bertesina, a typical, rural, nineteenth century Venetian courtyard with a connected 17-hectare estate with certified organic gardens of vegetables, grains and fodder, located on the outskirts of Vicenza, only 3km from Piazza dei Signori.
The objective of the project
Corte Bertesina is a project where environmental, social, and agricultural values intersect: an 8-hectare forest which surrounds the vegetable gardens and farmland, a social farm, in addition to; an agricultural food processing center and shop, a bed and breakfast, a visitor’s center for educational activities and residences. The objective of the project has been to regenerate and complete the existing core buildings with the intention to develop new functional relationships. Additionally, the project aims to intrude on the natural context as little as possible, absorbing from the surroundings visual, energetic, and wellness potential for its future inhabitants.
Giovanni Traverso, the architect in charge of the project stated: ‘’This project is based on three pre-existing spheres: that of a private family, an agricultural company, and a social farm“, adding: “Therefore, from private, social, and agricultural, we tried to put them together to look for valuable elements that could increase the potential of the courtyard project.
Architectural choices between refurbished and new buildings
The space of the historic courtyard is defined on the south edge by a long, linear wall in local stone and built using traditional methods. The wall divides public and social functions that occur in the courtyard and the private programs of the new residences. The new volumes are articulated linearly: light structures, hinged onto a stone wall which sits on a large, underground area designed to house the residents’ vehicles. A visual connection with the exterior landscape, the sun’s orientation and the control of natural ventilation are the main factors that informed the design solution.
The roof covering is shaped to control natural light and maximize its photovoltaic potential: it produces 60 KW of energy, enough to support the courtyard’s agricultural activities. On the southeast, a simple volume clad in irregular larch planks completes the courtyard: it is the cultural center, dedicated to the education and appreciation of the surrounding wooded landscape. The “barchessa” and historic buildings contain the bed and breakfast, gathering spaces for the social farm, food preparation areas, and market spaces for the sale of the agricultural goods produced on-site.
Focus on sustainability and environmental respect
The materials used are traditional and have been chosen to easily blend into the surrounding environment. Larch wood, conventionally used for its durability, was chosen as the main construction material. The concept of environmental respect and sustainability was a driving force behind the social intentions of the project, encompassing the wellbeing of its users, the choice of building materials and construction techniques, and energy production and use.
The HVAC system
Even the HVAC system has been designed with a clear focus on sustainability. It is based on a geothermal ring that, through heat pumps, distributes heating, cooling, and sanitary hot water to the different buildings. The HVAC plant designer selected 5 Climaveneta BWR DHW2 heat pumps from the PRANA range. The PRANA DHW2 heat pumps, optimized for geothermal systems, are reversible units for all year-round operation in any operating mode: single cycle (air conditioning, heating, domestic hot water) as well as a combined cycle in total heat recovery (domestic hot water together with cooling). Energy efficiency is the highest during the summer cycle, when, thanks to the full heat recovery, the production of hot water is free. Two additional air source heat pumps, iKIR 0151T INS, have been installed to keep stabilize the water temperature in the geothermal ring, thus maximizing the whole energy efficiency of the HVAC system. Air is finally distributed into the rooms through built-in fan coils belonging to Climaveneta a-LIFE2 and i-LIFE Slim ranges.
Stefano Florian, Product Specialist of Heat Pumps & Mini Chillers at Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics & IT Cooling Systems, says: “The installation of heat pumps reduces both running costs of the building and local CO2 emissions. A HVAC system based on heat pumps is able to satisfy cooling, heating, and domestic hot water production with only one unit, thus reducing maintenance costs as well”.