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Passive residential complex gives clue to supply and demand question

Zero energy and convivial ambiance
Zero energy and convivial ambiance

A new ‘passive’ residential development named ‘The Globe’ in the southern Brussels commune of Uccle was unveiled this week. The 13-apartment complex was presented by developers Green Immo and architects FHW. It is in response to a call for tenders from the Brussels Region, and is classed as an ‘Exemplary Building’. The development of this type of construction is relatively new, and asked about whether there is growing demand for passive buildings, architect Madeline Demoustier answered: “From private individuals yes, but from the buildings developers there is still very little”. Developer Esther Takober added: “In terms of collective residential units, this is the first such private development up to now in Brussels. There is another passive energy building being developed close to Namur”. An analogy in terms of supply and demand may be drawn here with other ‘green’ domains, such as eco-friendlier cars. Manufacturers are responding to a growing demand from users (fleets and private individuals), who may themselves be attracted by fiscal incentives as well as any altruistic considerations. The situation as described above may give some sort of clue as to what is likely to happen in the office and other professional sectors, in terms of more ‘green’ developments.

On the financial front, the extra cost of construction of around 15% for this totally passive construction, and the higher resulting purchase price, is compensated, as Esther Jakober explained, by the fact that the apartments are designed to be totally zero-energy, producing all of the energy they need (and perhaps more) via roof-mounted photo-voltaic panels, the use of bio-mass (colza) and the built-in characteristics required to be ‘Exemplary’. These include triple glazing, thicker plasterwork, and total air-tightness – confirmed by a special pressure test. These elements lead to heating requirements up to ten times less than for traditional constructions, and to an energy bill saving per average apartment of € 2,000 per year over the first ten years. The façades are also to be planted.
Tim Harrup
16-09-2010


 For more info on Green Immo, click here

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