Maximal circular renovation of Flemish public buildings
The Province of Limburg is building a new multifunctional training hall at the former Zwartberg mine site for the PLOT (Province of Limburg Education and Training) training centre for police, fire brigades and ambulance services.
When building this new training hall, we want to focus as much as possible on sustainability and apply a number of circular principles. For example, when the new centre is demolished, it must be possible to reintroduce the building materials into the chain without any loss of quality. This requires a flexible design, but also an extra effort from a whole range of other actors in the chain, such as manufacturers, legislators, clients, contractors and demolishers.
The building is compact and at the same time well oriented. The use of materials with a long lifespan, reused materials, good insulation, plenty of daylight with good thermal summer comfort and sound, proven techniques make the building sustainable.
The training hall is constructed from flexible, simple volumes, which is ideal for installing solar panels in the future. In this way, the hall can be an essential supplier of water and electricity for the future buildings on the campus.
With regard to the lighting, we opted for the circular Light as a Service concept: a system of renting luminaires, installation and maintenance for 15 years, after which everything is reused or recycled via the local economy.
We want to share our acquired knowledge as much as possible. All the parties involved and the press were able to familiarise themselves with the project during the 'first column setting' event. An information panel about the circular principles used will be placed in the hall. We are also organising workshops on our project.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
The design of the new hall gave both the client and the services responsible for buildings a concrete introduction to circularity. It gave them a whole new perspective on building and sustainability, which will certainly have a positive influence on future building projects.
Maintaining a large patrimony regularly requires expensive investments. Some circular interventions are more expensive, so they quickly fall by the wayside when the budget comes under pressure. But we also discovered circular ideas that are just that bit more interesting financially. This project proves that we can also make progress step by step with smaller, smart interventions.
The project had a difficult start due to delays in the award phase, but the administrative process and arriving at official decisions also tended to take longer than originally expected.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Thanks to this project, different parties got a whole new perspective on building and sustainability. Although we cannot yet call the new training hall fully circular, this new view will certainly have a positive influence on future building projects or interventions in existing infrastructure. Some concrete, practical applications will certainly be used again in the future, given their clear advantages.
Our experience with circularity in this project was already very positive and makes us long for more ...