BESIX entities jointly connect the royal Laeken domain to a sustainable heat network

21 July 2020

BESIX Group subsidiary Van den Berg has been selected by the Belgian Buildings Agency and Brussels Energy to connect the royal palace and greenhouses in Laeken to the district heating network fed by the Neder-over-Heembeek waste incinerator. The aim is to reduce the estate’s ecological footprint and lower the heavy heating costs.

The project consists of installing (design & build) the substations and control/automation systems and 15 years’ preventive maintenance. It is these substations that will provide heating to the royal estate. For this task, Van den Berg has joined forces with ComTIS and BESIX Environment, two other Group entities. This collaboration demonstrates the strength of BESIX: leveraging the entire pool of expertise in the group to provide integrated, value chain-spanning solutions. A good example of a One-Stop-Shop.

District heating: a new form of diversification

The royal estate at Laeken has until now consumed large quantities of fuel oil every year. The greenhouses, housing a number of exotic flowers and plants requiring specific climatic conditions, are particularly energy guzzling.

Since 2016, the Neder-over-Heembeek municipal waste incinerator has also served as a local district heating installation distributing the residual heat from waste incineration. The nearby Docks Bruxsel shopping complex is already being heated in this way. With the royal estate close to the incinerator and a heavy consumer of energy every year, the Buildings Agency decided to connect the estate to this district heating network and issued a call for tenders. Which Van den Berg won.

Van den Berg’s task is now to design and build the supply stations and the internal pipelines from the heating network to these substations. Colleagues from BESIX Environment are assisting with engineering and automation aspects, while ComTIS is laying the internal piping and will provide the 15 years’ preventive maintenance. Van den Berg will also install and start up the substations and heat exchangers. The skills of these three Group entities allow BESIX to cover the entire district heating transportation and distribution network.

Energy transit and one-stop shop

The number of district heating initiatives based on renewable energy is growing in Europe in response to the objectives of the EU's 2030 Climate and Energy Package. Energy transition by recovering energy from waste is receiving increasing attention worldwide. BESIX Group has built up extensive knowledge with such projects abroad, as well as in Belgium through its Van den Berg, BESIX Environment and ComTIS subsidiaries. These include, for example, the heating network installed on the Blue Gate site in Antwerp, or between the ISVAG inter-municipal incinerator in Wilrijk and the surrounding industrial zones where, in a one-stop-shop combination, the assignment included the retrieval of the heat from the incinerator, the transportation network and the delivery stations.

Thanks to its subsidiaries, BESIX Group covers almost all construction trades, from the most general to the most advanced. These complement each other seamlessly, depending on the nature and specificity of the contract and the expectations of the customer. Developing 'one-stop-shop’ solutions is a BESIX priority. The intention is to make expertise easily accessible to a subsidiary that lacks it in-house, enabling it to offer integrated solutions to its customers, regardless of geographical location. In this way, the customer can easily identify a range of tasks which it then assigns to the group, thereby limiting the number of parties involved and gaining in terms of money, time and efficiency. The construction and management of district heating networks is a good example of this. In this way, BESIX is gradually becoming recognized as a reliable partner in this very specific and fast-growing sector.

Work on the Laeken project is right now at the preparatory stage, with delivery scheduled for autumn this year.