Brussels leading the way in sustainable urban design



Brussels has the ambition to become a model for sustainable development, aiming to meet the related societal challenges specific to a contemporary city-region. Therefore, the Brussels-Capital Region has developed several courses of action involving all areas of life In a Region that is facing rapid demographic growth, having a deficiency in low-cost housing, affordable and sustainable housing for all is one of the major challenges of the Region.

Since 2009, the Region is requiring that any urban development be carried out in line with sustainable neighbourhood principles. To facilitate this, Bruxelles Environnement has published a reference tool to support and boost the market penetration of sustainable buildings: “Sustainable Building Guide”. The energy topics of the most recent version of this guide were developed by 3E.

The Sustainable Buildings Guide aims to support building professionals in building or renovating high- performance and environmentally friendly buildings. At the same time, guidelines are provided to ensure optimal comfort and wellbeing of the users as well as the economic feasibility.

As an example, the figure below shows an implementation of a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery to reach a given performance level .


A description of the proposed components as well as the pros and cons of such ventilation with heat recovery (VWHR) system can be found online, in the file “Designing an energy-efficient ventilation system”.

Most of the content is now available in an interactive online tool (in French and Dutch) on or The practical focus of the guide makes this a very powerful reference tool for increasing building sustainability in the Brussels-Capital Region.