Europe’s most sustainable office building breaks ground in Bilzen

Summary

Encon has broken ground on its new headquarters in Limburg, which will be one of Europe’s most sustainable buildings, creating more energy than it consumes

‘On the world map’

Flemish energy minister Bart Tommelein has kicked off the construction of one of Europe’s most sustainable office buildings. At the launch of the project in Bilzen, Limburg, yesterday, Tommelein was accompanied on the podium only by children – the children of the employees of Encon, the company behind the project.

Encon is equipping its new headquarters with a photo-voltaic installation, solar panels and its own wind turbine, which will allow it to produce much more energy than it will consume. The Flemish company, with headquarters already in Bilzen, is a specialist in energy applications.

Once complete, the building – dubbed Infinity –  will be home to not only Encon but to a number of start-ups working in the energy and sustainability sectors. The building will also provide space for an international energy training centre, turning it into what the company called “a living laboratory where new techniques can be explored and exhibited”.

“Company headquarters and office buildings are leading the way in the field of energy applications,” said Tommelein (pictured). “Encon is showing with Infinity what is possible, while at the same time acting as a knowledge centre and laboratory. Encon is putting Flanders on the world map for energy applications.”

Photo courtesy Encon

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Sustainable energy

The five main renewable energy sources in Flanders are biomass, biogas, wind energy, solar energy and water power. The renewable energy sector has grown sharply in recent years, with wind and solar energy production especially on the rise.
Agency - The Flemish Energy Agency is responsible for implementing the government’s sustainable energy policies. Its central tasks are to promote rational energy use and environmentally friendly energy production.
Green energy certificates - One of the principal measures to promote sustainable energy are the certificates the Flemish energy regulator (Vreg) awards for electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Since the regulations were tightened in 2012, investments in renewable energy installations have declined.
Obstacles - According to the Flemish Energy Agency, the main challenges in local renewable energy production are the region’s short coast, limited height differences and direct sunlight, and high population density.
11

new wind turbines created in Flanders in 2013

6 030

million kilowattage of green energy in 2012

6

percentage of green energy used in Flanders in 2012