Collective energy systems in a green neighbourhood: a winning team?

Source: VONT architecture & urban design

The Flemish project developer Bostoen is already well-known for their reasonably priced passive houses. With their new “Naturehood” concept (“Natuurbuurt” in Dutch), they are taking sustainable districts to the next level. The concept distinguishes itself from more conventional allotments by adding a lot of collective green, less paved roads and an optimized solar orientation for each dwelling.


As part of the ” Naturehood ” concept, Bostoen is looking for the most optimal energy concept for these types of neighbourhoods.

Based on a cost benefit analysis, 3E investigated the feasibility of collective systems compared to the individual systems currently used by Bostoen.
Initially, the analysis was done for the “Bierhalle” district in Ostend, with 11 dwellings. For both the reference cases and the scenarios with collective heat generation, a detailed analysis from 3 different points of view has been carried out: the point of view of the developer, the buyer, and the environmental impact. First of all, the total CAPEX of each concept determines the marketability of the dwelling. For the buyer however, the total cost of ownership is the most relevant characteristic. Finally, the CO2-emissions of every concept determine its environmental impact. Based on the combination of these results, Bostoen will be able to determine their technical and marketing strategy for these new kinds of neighbourhoods.

Youri Vandenberghe, urban designer: “The outcome of this study was an eye-opener and tackled some prejudices on collective concepts. If we want to move to CO2-neutral neighbourhoods, the current low prices of fossil fuels are a real burden. I truly believe that governments should look further towards a greener way of heating our houses. Anyway, a private company as Bostoen has already chosen this direction.


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