Royal Estate of Laeken takes new sustainable heating system into use (Belgium)

Global Group Me@BESIX Me@Vandenberg Local 2 min read

On 1 May 2021, the Belgian Buildings Agency (Regie der Gebouwen) and Bruxelles-Energie officially started up the new heating network that will provide more sustainable heating for the Royal Estate of Laeken, including the Royal Greenhouses, for at least 25 years. The network recovers part of the residual heat from the incinerator in Neder-Over-Heembeek via a direct connection. Thanks to this BESIX Group one-stop-shop project, in which Group entities Van den Berg, BESIX Environment, and ComTIS took part, the CO2 emissions of the Royal Estate will be reduced by 2,300 tons per year. The heat network covers almost all the heating needs of the Estate (90%).

Scope of the works

The works consisted of adapting ten of the Royal Estate's heating locations and connecting the Estate to the incinerator's heating network. Between January and June 2020, trenches were dug over a distance of 2 kilometres to install some 4,500 metres of heating network pipes and to connect the boiler rooms to the incinerator.

BESIX Group as one-stop shop

The Belgian Buildings Agency appointed Van den Berg for the Design & Build of the various heat exchangers and the internal piping from the heat network to the substations. Van den Berg was also responsible for the installation and start-up of these substations and the heat exchangers. For the technical execution, they were assisted by colleagues from BESIX Environment. ComTIS was responsible for laying the internal piping. Van den Berg's order also included 15 years' preventive maintenance. A fine example of a one-stop shop project with input from various companies within BESIX Group.

"This sustainable project, which is the result of a collaboration between the Royal Palace, Bruxelles-Energie and the Belgian Buildings Agency, is fully in line with our desire to improve the ecological footprint and reduce the energy consumption of public buildings. The Royal Greenhouses make this project even more interesting as they require specific control and a constant temperature throughout the year," Laurent Vrijdaghs, Administrator General of the Belgian Buildings Agency.
"Since its creation, Bruxelles-Energie has constantly strived to reduce the environmental impact of its activities and to improve the valorisation of residual waste. Today, one tonne of waste can produce 2,000 kWhth of heat, compared to 500 kWhe of electricity. Moreover, the installation of a heating network offers a much more interesting energy yield. I would like to thank the teams of all parties involved for their participation." Daniel Van Lathem, Project Manager at Bruxelles-Energie.

Van den Berg: partner from A to Z

Over the last four years, Van den Berg has evolved from laying heat network piping to a 'design, build & maintain' provider of the complete chain from heat generation to transport and delivery. To this end, they cooperate with the other BESIX Group entities to the fullest. Van den Berg is also responsible for the preventive and corrective maintenance of the installations.