Ongoing measures

We are working on the following projects (or have recently completed them):

  • The renovated VUB swimming pool reopened in 2018. The building shell is passive and the technical installations are very energy efficient.
  • On the VUB Health Campus in Jette, Theodoortje was built, which houses a school, a children's daycare centre, and a scout centre, among other facilities. It is an energy-neutral concept with a Borehole Thermal Energy Storage (BTES) system.
  • The new building L, a research building on the VUB Health Campus, will be heated with a heat pump. This project is in the start-up phase.

Short-term measures (max. 5 years)

To meet the 2030 emission targets, we are already taking the following measures on our campuses:

Boiler room (VUB Main Campus)

On the VUB Main Campus, the boiler room and all substations of the heating networks will be completely renovated. In 2023, the furnace will start its own local power production through cogeneration (combined heat and power). The residual heat will be used to heat buildings in the winter. The functioning of the heating network will be optimised.

Chemical laboratories in building G

The chemical laboratories in building G (VUB Main Campus) contain many fume hoods. These are located in places where chemicals are used. The fan system for the current hoods was designed in the 1970s and causes considerable heat loss. In the planned renovation, we are opting for a modern laboratory design. The fan system will have a heat recovery system, and heat pumps will provide heating in winter. This project will be subsidised by Europe and the Brussels Region within the framework of the ERDF programme (European Regional Development Fund).

Sports centre (VUB Main Campus)

The sports centre on the VUB Main Campus is being renovated. We are opting for an energy-efficient concept.

Roofs (VUB Main Campus)

The roofs of the VUB Main Campus will be fitted with as many solar panels (PV) as possible. This process had been underway one step at a time at VUB Health Campus since 2013. We are also investigating the possibility of installing vertical PV panels on the facade. The obsolete fan systems are being upgraded with such modern technologies as heat recovery and frequency control. The lighting will be replaced by modern LED lighting.

Measures by 2050

Our goal is net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, we are exploring the following avenues:

  • Belgian summers are characterised by excess heat and winters by excess cold. Therefore, we are investigating the potential of thermal storage. The aim is to temporarily store excess heat underground so that we can use it to heat our buildings in the winter. Conversely, we can use the winter cold to cool our buildings in the summer.
  • Researchers from VUB are carrying out simulations with β€˜digital twins’: virtual representations of our buildings. These simulations should allow us to optimise our energy system. They will also provide insight into the best energy management choices for the future.

In addition to these actions, we are constantly striving to optimise our systems. Under the motto β€˜knowledge is power’, we are constantly collecting as much data as possible. This data provides more insight into possible optimisations.