Leopoldkazerne: reconversion of the site

January 24, 2019


Client: Democo Group, thv Leopold, Nelson group
Period: 2015 – 2021
Team: Democo Group, Matexi, Buroll & Archl+l, 3E, Ingenium


The government institution “Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen” awarded the consortium (composed of, among others, Matexi, DMI and Democo) with the reconversion of the Leopoldskazerne site in Ghent – Belgium. The site, known for its heritage and closed appearance to its surroundings, will be transformed into a vivid and mixed neighbourhood, with offices, a school, green space, housing, … This transformation is strongly characterised by its overall sustainability approach: BREEAM Communities for the entire site, multiple BREEAM-certifications for several buildings on site, and a CO2-neutral energy concept are only a few of the implemented measures.

As a member of the consortium, 3E guided the team intensively to meet these goals, with support along three axes:

  1. BREEAM Communities: Aside the multiple BREEAM certifications at building level, with an Excellent-label for the future headquarters of the Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, a BREEAM Communities-certificate for the entire site is set as a target. Similar to the BREEAM-schemes on building level, this certification scheme covers different topics ensuring a sustainable approach regarding participation, energy and water management, among others. This sustainability certification scheme goes beyond the buildings themselves, focussing in a high degree on the relation between the different buildings on site, and the surrounding neighbourhood. As such, to open up the site and to withhold the most optimal functions on site, this sustainability instrument enables a powerful broad view regarding sustainability.
  2. Renovation of heritage to NZEB: While the present buildings on site are architectural valuable, the Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen requested nevertheless to reach ambitious goals regarding energy performance and thermal comfort. This lead to the implementation of different insulation strategies, focussing strongly on interior insulation to respect the architectural qualities of the site. This approach is studied in depth, as several hygrothermal phenomena like frost damage in the outer brick walls need to be avoided. Finally, the study work resulted in a well-insulated building envelope comprising different insulation strategies in function of orientation, insulation material characteristics, etc.
  3. CO2-neutral energy concept: Following the broad sustainability goals and the in-depth analyses to insulate the buildings on the interior, different renewable energy technologies will be integrated in the project. Through the use of photovoltaic panels, heat pumps and geothermal boreholes, 70% of the energy demand of the buildings is covered by renewable energy technologies on site. Considering the energy policy of the Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, which exists out of buying green electricity, the future headquarters reach a CO2-neutral ambition level.