Stronghouse

Regional Events: Belgian seminar on district energy renovation

26 November 2020 - Published by Deirdre Buist 2
In order to reach the climate goals for 2050, Belgium must invest heavily in energy renovation, amongst other things. This means retro-fitting more than 100,000 houses annually. Such a challenge requires speeding up the process considerably. The collective renovation of neighbourhoods with similar housing offers optimal opportunities. But where to start?

On 16th November representatives from the Stronghouse partnership  joined an online seminar organized by the Belgian association Bond Beter Leefmilieu (for a better living environment) around this theme.

Three different organizations presented their proposals for district renovations and highlighted the potential funding support municipalities can avail of in this. The City of Mechelen also shared their experience of neighbourhood energy renovations with a concrete case.

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Reporting from the region

As first in a series of short reports on regional events, Stronghouse colleague Ine Lobelle - from the City of Roeselare -has kindly noted some of the ideas discussed and points made during the presentations and sessions. As part of our transnational exchange, we hope some might trigger new thoughts or re-affirm various partners'  strategies.

Neighbourhood approach:

  • Which is the best theme ‘ Energy’ or ‘Climate’ (integrating blue and green networks)

  • What is the role of One-Stop-Shops in this?

  • What is most effective? Bottom-up demands as starting point or top-down district planning?

  • Use quality results of first phase to create ambassadors for engaging more people in phase 2

  • Keep the process moving – don’t delay between interest and implementation phases

  • Focus on neighbourhoods of 500 – 1500 houses for sufficient standardization capacity and results

  • Target neighbourhoods with similar houses, e.g. 2-3 facades built between 1950-‘80 

Consider the demographics when motivating  homeowners:

  • First time buyers - comfort and ease

  • Existing homeowners (+5 year ownership) - energy saving

  • Mortgage-free owners - increasing property value

A recommemded strategy when engaging the end-users/homeowners:

  • Keep it simple

  • Create One-stop-shops

  • Develop ready-made package deals

Crowd-funding tool

An interesting financing tool is the Befutura ‘crowd-funding’ (to be found on their website https://www.befutura.co) which basically entails that the more people from the neighbourhood who sign up for energy renovation the cheaper it becomes. This is hugely encouraging and stimulates people to discuss the possibilities together.

Dutch speakers can follow the recorded event