Heritage site goes CO2-neutral



The Province of East-Flanders awarded the reconversion of the Leopoldskazerne site in Ghent to a consortium composed of, among others, Matexi, DMI, Democo and 3E. The site, currently (in)famous for its heritage value but closed appearance to its surroundings, will be transformed into a vivid and mixed neighbourhood, with offices, a school, green space, housing, … This transformation will for a large part be driven by overall sustainability requirements: a BREEAM Communities standard 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.

To meet the sustainability requirements of the project 3E has focused on three main aspects:

1) BREEAM Communities: Aside from the multiple BREEAM certifications at building level, with an Excellent-label for the future headquarters of the Province of East Flanders , a BREEAM Communities certificate for the entire site is set as a target. This certification scheme covers different topics ensuring a sustainable approach on, among others, participation, energy and water management. This certification scheme goes beyond the buildings as such but focusses on the relation between the different buildings on the site, and the site surroundings. As such, it is the perfect instrument to guarantee an open, lively and interactive site, which was one of the focus points in the design.

2) Renovation of heritage to NZEB:The Province of East Flanders is set on ambitious goals regarding energy performance and comfort while safeguarding the high architectural heritage value of the site. This demand has required an innovative and complex insulation strategy, focusing strongly on interior insulation to respect the architectural qualities of the site, while managing the associated specific hygrothermal challenges like frost damage in the outer brick walls. Finally, 3E was able to present a well-insulated building envelope comprising a diversified set of insulation strategies in function of orientation, insulation material characteristics, etc.

3) CO2-neutral energy concept: In addition, several renewable energy technologies will be integrated in the project. 70% of the energy demand of the buildings will be covered by renewable energy generated on-site, combining solar photovoltaics, heat pumps and geothermal boreholes. Combined with purchased green electricity, the site will be CO2-neutral.