If we want a better consideration of the energy retrofit in buildings, energy must become a performance criterion of choice for future purchasers or lessors of housing or office buildings. This is the objective of certification EPB : provide objective information on the energy performance of the property sought. It indicates the energy class of the property on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (very high energy). It is established based on several assumptions, such as a standardized behavior of the occupant and an average year-round climate.
The EPB certificate allows potential buyers or potential tenants to compare the energy point of view the different properties they visit on a common basis of calculation for estimating energy performance. The EPB certificate also includes recommendations for improving the energy performance level of the dwelling.
The requirement for an EPB certificate is the result of the Government’s Decree (2011).
The energy consumptions of the regional tertiary sector currently accounts for 32% of the Brussels’ final energy consumption. That is why the realization of an energy audit followed by the mandatory implementation of the cost-effective measures (payback time < 5 years) is now compulsory for any building not affected to housing, of more than 3,500 m², at the renewal of its environmental permit. This new regulation concerns 23,4 million m² and should induce between 6 and 19% energy savings for the tertiary sector. The air, climate and energy plan foresees a regular reinforcement of the surface tresholds for this requirement.Read More Read Less
The passive standard, which will be extended to all new buildings in 2015 in Brussels, must use innovative cooling techniques to meet the criteria.
Unlike regions with shallow hot springs, the Brussels-Capital does not have a basement characterized by a high temperature gradient. The geothermal is therefore more adequate to take advantage of the thermal inertia of the soil and its ability to store heat or cold. Generally, geothermal systems are coupled to heat pumps to achieve the desired temperature. This combination "geothermal - heat pump" makes it possible to achieve optimum performance of the heat pump giving it a relatively stable source of thermal energy.
Most passive buildings or offices built or under construction in Brussels employs this effective technique for cooling, but also for warming in winter.
Geothermal installations and heat pumps in the commercial and industrial sectors benefit from energy subsidies (heat pumps alone in residential sectors).
The Region supports independent associations and non-profit organisation such as the Passive House Platform (Plateforme Maison Passive), to which it entrusts the guidance of project sponsors as well as technical verification of the files for subsidies of passive construction or low or very low energy refurbishment.
The platform organises numerous training sessions for professionals, visits to passive projects, etc. In 2009, it launched be.passive, a magazine dedicated to passive architecture.
In Brussels, the building sector is responsible for 75% of energy consumption and 70% of CO2 emissions. This is why the Brussels-Capital Region is conducting a number of activities to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and promote sustainable renovation and construction techniques. As of 2004, various wide-scale experiments have been carried out in order to test and demonstrate the ability of the city’s stakeholders to improve their energy performance. Based on this 5-years’ experience, Brussels has been responsible for completely revolutionising its energy culture since 2009, by fully subscribing to the European policy for 2020 and 2050, even anticipating some of the European deadlines (such as EPB directive). This policy was shown as an example by the European Commission, which awarded the Brussels-Capital Region the Sustainable Energy Award in 2012.Read More Read Less
Since 2009, the Brussels Government has taken measures to include ecological and sustainable development criteria in its procurement contracts. These measures are mandatory for the regional public administrations and optional for the municipal public administrations.
Standard specifications, a help desk and a central sustainable procurement office have been put in place for these administrations. The COBRACE recently increased the list of criteria which have to be included in public purchases, such as the energy performance of buildings.
Since December 2012, Brussels has begun implementing a pedestrian plan, which develops a vision for pedestrians’ mobility by 2020 to 2040. Here are some of the main measures :
• Create local pedestrians networks in the centre ;
• Transform the main public transportation nodes in order to make them real pedestrian spaces ;
• Develop a "zero vision" for pedestrian security ;
• Development of "Go10" : 10 criteria have been imposed for all new planning project ;
• Stimulate community policy towards pedestrians.
The aim was to examine, using the method of "backcasting" the feasibility and impact on the future of the Belgian energy system trajectories that lead our country to use 100% renewable energy sources 2050. To do this, the study is based on a reference scenario, which depicts a renewable energy system without constraint in 2050 and six alternative scenarios, which lead to coverage of 100% consumption of energy sources renewables by 2050. Achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050 seemed a priori very ambitious. Indeed, the Belgian potential renewable energy sources known is limited, Belgium has few natural resources and Belgium host industry and residential sector which are intense in energy consumption. However, this goal seems possible without questioning our economic paradigm.Read More Read Less
This particular ERDF project (2007-2013, € 16 million) aims to set up an environmental business incubator in the areas of eco-construction, renewable energy and green products. The incubator hopes to create 7,500 m² of space for companies involved in sustainable construction, in association with the Employment-Environment Alliance. The objective is to accept 60 companies. The emergence of these companies will result in 6 full-time jobs per incubated company being created.Read More Read Less
The Energy Service is a multipurpose project of social support in energy matters. It has been built around the observation that energy problems are different for each household (financial problems, administrative problems, status of the buildings…) and need a specific approach.
The Energy Service is being developed in partnership with 8 centres of Brussels social services.
A threefold mission has been defined:
- To answer to the needs of users of social services in energy matters with a customized follow-up. Five social workers called “accompanying Energy”, are available for users of social services ;
- To insure the transmission of energy skills to social assistants in order to enable them to acquire “energy reflexes”;
- To study the opportunity to spread the Energy Service to other social sectors in Brussels, so that a greater number of people benefit from it.
Hotlines are provided to the public in each social centre.
The transport sector ranks second as regards to greenhouse gases emissions in Brussels. Transport sector is responsible for around 20% of the CO2 emissions. Over the past few years, Brussels has been implementing a policy to reduce the number of kilometres travelled and to encourage modal transfer, with a target of reducing traffic by 20% by 2018.
The many actions taken are already bearing fruit and led to a significant modal shift : for internal displacement, the car part fell sharply, by 17 % between 1999 and 2010 ; walking became the first mode to move towards the city ; the part of public transport has largely increased and finally the bike and the train have experienced the largest increases, although their modal shares remain weak.
Starting from the principle that the existing neighbourhoods will always be the essence of the urban fabric, Brussels decided in priority to improve life in its existing neighbourghoods. Under the sustainable neighborhoods contracts, environmentally efficient projects will be supported by the Region primarily to help speed up energy transformation of the housing stock in the old and insecure areas. The Sustainable Neighbourhood contracts offer different innovative flagship projects in energy and the environment. Now, following the example of the first Zero Carbon neighbourhood in the “Urbain-Loi” project (European Quarter), all new urbanization project will move towards the goal of zero carbon.
In addition, the Region has launched a call for proposals to the residents in order for them to, together, take action on various issues : energy savings, waste reduction, rational consumption, etc. Since 1993, 60 neighbourhoods have already benefited from this transversal policy.
Brussels Environment has trained and accredited over 380 Energy Managers. They have received extensive training of 12 days, followed by a written examination and a defense jury a dissertation training after which they received a certificate. These Energy Managers then return within the institutions that employ them to analyze the energy saving potential in the buildings they manage. If Brussels has managed to reduce its energy consumption by 25% between 2004 and 2011 (adjusted for climate and per capita), it is surely due to the actions implemented by the Energy Managers. The next edition of the training is scheduled in December 2013.Read More Read Less
Regarding EPB standards, the Calls for Exemplary Buildings have served as a test bench: they have provided confirmation that the passive standard is fully accessible and does not lead to major increased costs in residential buildings, schools or offices, in new construction and sometimes even in renovations. Nowadays, Brussels already counts 1,511 passive units, which represents a total surface of 770,000m².
Following this experience, Brussels has decided that the passive standard (15 kWh/m²/year) will be implemented in January 2015 for any new construction. The Brussels-Capital Region will be the first European region to impose this degree of requirement.
The heating component of EPB is the one that will probably have the most impact. Reduction of CO2 emissions is estimated up to 166,000 tons in 2020. The air, climate and energy plan also foresees a strengthening of the EPB standards for simple renovations.
Brussels-Capital Region wishes to pursue its renewable energy initiatives further. So far, the main focus has been on solar energy, but the use of wind power in an urban context also has potential. However, various obstacles, including the proximity of Brussels National Airport, stand in the way of the development of wind power in Brussels. That’s why it has been decided within the air, climate and energy plan that the constraints due to the airport should be eased (taking security concerns into account) in order to allow the implementation of large wind turbines in some parts of Brussels.
Brussels has appointed a ‘wind power expert’, whose tasks include evaluating the potential for this technology in urban set-ups. A study is also underway, involving the performance of wind measurement surveys and feasibility studies for the construction of small or large wind turbines in Brussels territory.
The Region has also made a big effort to provide information to the public. The number of visits to the administration’s website has more than doubled in 3 years. From widely distributed leaflets to technical information sheets, many different publications containing information and practical advices are available to the general public, both on the website and on various paper media. Every year, around 20,000 people attend the Festival of the Environment.
The administration is also present on the social networks and publishes a monthly e-newsletter for citizens (3,500 addressees) and for professionals (17,500 addressees).
To meet all the challenges related to energy, renewable energy, climate change, air quality, the Brussels-Capital Region has developed an integrated approach which has already been declined into a regulation document (Brussels Air, Climate and Energy Code - COBRACE) and into a planning document (Air, Climate, Energy Plan). Buildings and transport sectors are the primary targets, as they emit more than 2/3 of the CO2 emitted in Brussels.
The COBRACE defines new requirements such as EPB standards, environmental performance standards for vehicles of public authorities, restriction on parking lots in company buildings, energy performance for public lightening, it creates a climate fund to implement GHG emissions reducing measures, etc. This code has come into force in May 2013.
The COBRACE measures are defined in annex and some of them are exposed in the other actions.
The cost of occupation of a building is the addition of the rent or the repayment of the mortgage for the building and the amount of expenses resulting from energy consumption related to the use of this building. Taking this into account will force the Government to adopt a long-term vision in the occupation of new buildings, no longer focusing on potentially less expensive buildings during installation but more expensive during the occupation. This has been foreseen into the air, climate and energy plan. It will be implemented from July 2014.Read More Read Less
With over 15,000 hours of training per year, the Brussels-Capital aims to increase knowledge and expertise in energy efficiency, environmental protection and sustainable renovation, both professionals in the construction and building owners. This training program is structured from the general to the specific thematic applications, with site visits or exercises. The goal for next year is to transfer the technical content and educational materials to other training centers or schools of higher education and universities. Taking advantage of the multiplier effect, the number of training hours will increase significantly.
The following trainings are regularly organized by Brussels-Environment and address all kind of audiences :
- Sustainable Public Procurement
- Green Building / Energy (voluntary framework)
- Sustainable canteen
- Energy performance of buildings (regulatory framework).
As example : training "Sustainable Building: passive and (very) low energy" (attached)
Brussels Climate Fund is a central tool of implementation of the Brussels climate policy. The climate fund was created within the COBRACE. It aims at financing the measures which contribute to reduce the greenhouse gases emissions in all sectors and to develop renewable energy.
The purpose of such a fund, however, is not limited to regional measures to mitigate climate change. In line with international agreements taken within UNFCCC in Copenhagen and Cancún, the means of the fund will also be allocated to financing climate policies in developing countries (see other actions).
The “Eco-dynamic Company" Label is awarded to businesses that develop sustainable management measures and pursue a green policy and can demonstrate that they are making progress notably in areas such as waste management, the rational use of energy, workers’ mobility management.... From an administrative point of view, this label is less cumbersome than the EMAS or ISO14001 labels, and is therefore more suited to SMEs and other small structures.
Bodies applying for the label are offered tailored coaching by an expert. A simplified procedure has been put in place for EMAS or ISO14001 certified bodies applying for the Brussels label.
With 173 sites having been awarded the “Entreprise Ecodynamique” label, of which 52 are in the public sector (36 of these 52 are regional Brussels public administrations, municipal or intermunicipal bodies), the label has been proven a great success. The 173 successful candidates who have been awarded the label employ more than 45,000 FTEs. 450 hours a year are spent on coaching applicants.
In 2014, the 800 employees Brussels Environment of Brussels’ Ministry for Energy and Environment will move into a new quality, comfortable and nice workplace, and open on a Sustainable City. The building reaches an exceptional level of energy performance for a building of this size (17,000m²), respecting standard passive (ie 15kwh/m².year a consumption divided by ten relative to a "classic" building). This level of performance hoisted in the small circle of the most efficient buildings in the world.
This project lays the foundation stone for the development of one of the largest sustainable neighborhoods the Brussels Region, combining high energy and environmental performance, respect for heritage, housing development, user-friendly public spaces and a park of regional importance.
The building will serve as a showcase and example for the real estate and construction. With some adjustments, the cost is similar to another new inefficient building. It is truly an exemplary building.
The public authorities have a vital role to play in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions : they must set an example of proper measures and practices to be adopted and, because of their economic weight, they have a direct impact on the results of the policy conducted.
In Brussels, local, regional, federal, European, and international public institutions are concentrated. That’s why Brussels has always developed the exemplary roles of public authorities, and imposed them higher requirements than the current regulations.
For example, new public buildings or subject to heavy renovation are also supposed to cover 30% of their energy consumption by renewable energy or cogeneration quality. A 100% green electricity supply has also become mandatory to Brussels administrations. Furthermore, since 2010, all new public real-estate developments must meet the passive standard, including a conversion to the passive standard by the major public players in social property development in Brussels.
See actions 9 to 16 of the annexe.
As illustrated by the measures developed throughout the previous examples, regional climate policy aims proactive and ambitious. However, even if the downward trend of our emissions is confirmed, this decline will follow “sawtooth”, fluctuating mainly because of the high expected population increase and given the high variability of gas emissions greenhouse of the Brussels Region, the latter being directly dependent on the average temperatures during the year in question. It might thus be necessary for the Region to use flexibility mechanisms. However, the use of flexible mechanisms remains complementary to domestic policies to reduce emissions and meets very strict sustainability criteria. Moreover, the Region limited potential of energy produced from renewable sources is identified for a long time. If the region wants to achieve a significant share of energy production from renewable energy sources, it might have recourse to measures of flexibility as provided by Directive 2009/28.Read More Read Less
Since 2004, companies with more than 200 workers, and since 2011, 100 workers on a single site have been required to develop a company mobility plan in order to promote more sustainable modes of transport and improve air quality. This foresees bicycle parking facilities, a multimodal access map, awareness-raising, promotion of public transport, the choice of vehicles causing less pollution. 600 business sites fall under this obligation, representing more than one-third of employment in the Brussels-Capital Region (300.000 workers). An analysis showed that the use of cars in the concerned enterprises has decreased by 17% for work-home journeys (between 2004 and 2011), even by 50% in certain enterprises which use “mobility packages”.
Since 2006, 170 educational institutions (catering for more than one third of all pupils) have voluntarily drawn up a School Mobility Plan. As of 2013, this will become compulsory for all schools.
Since 2007, the Region has organised yearly calls for Proposals for Exemplary Buildings to financially (subsidy of 100 €/m²) and technically (expert support) encourage integrated eco-construction approaches.
Exemplary Buildings comply with four requirements
(1) Excellent energy performance : passive standard for new constructions and low and very low energy standard for renovation;
(2) Low environmental impact : eco-materials, natural cycles (in particular for rainwater) and biodiversity, sanitary quality of spaces, eco-mobility.
(3) Urban and architectural integration of the building;
(4) Reproducibility and reasonable economic costs : no high-tech solutions, but concepts and materials with reasonable pay-back time.
193 projects were selected, 522.000 m² are concerned, including 35% renovated. This represents 1 on 5 worksites in Brussels. The average energy consumption reduction is -75 % and CO2 emission spared are 25.500 tCO2/year. The Exemplary Buildings operation has also created approximately 1250 jobs.
Food accounts for 30 % of our environmental impact. This is why the Region has launched the ‘sustainable canteen’ campaign, which is proving increasingly successful. The idea was to persuade large catering organisations which provide meals for institutions (schools, companies, government bodies) to produce meals with a lower environmental impact : less meat, fruit and vegetables which are in season and as local as possible, all coming from producers who care about the environment. Today, more than 60,000 meals are already being served daily that meet the sustainability criteria.Read More Read Less
The Job and Environment Alliance (JEA) and sectoral axis "sustainable construction" is based on two requirements: companies must be able to meet the "high energy and environmental performance" demand in the construction industry. The JEA associates in a participatory dynamic professional associations, trade unions, public actors of the environment, economic activation, training, research, community actors. After two years of implementation, the results of operations are : 100% building training operators giving training in sustainable building ; 120,000 hours of training ; 4800 people followed them ; 100 % building schools had the opportunity to visit an exemplary building. Three other sectors Job and Environment Alliance were launched: waste, water and sustainable food sectors, with the same objective of stimulating these sectors and economic transition. Globally, these JAE are foreseen to produce 7200 new jobs (2500 in building, 300 in water, 700 in waste and 3700 in sustainable food).Read More Read Less
The capacity and the quality of public transportation by the STIB (Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles) has been the first priority of the Brussels Government for years. As a result, the use of regional public transport (STIB) increased by 100% between 2000 and 2012 and 97.5% of inhabitants live at less than 300 m from some form of public transport.
The following actions have been set up to improve the network: an increase in metro, tram and bus capacity and a greater comfort to passengers ; extension of the network ; introduction of night-buses and of collective night-time taxis ; construction of numerous separate lanes, etc.
In addition, the STIB only sources its electricity from renewable sources as of 2013.
Congestion and air quality problems have led the Brussels Government to define a new parking policy for the entire Region. This policy targets the IRIS 2 plan parking objective of reducing the number of road-side parking spaces by 16% (between 2010 and 2020).
This policy is divided into the following actions :
- Reducing the number of private parking spaces in office blocks. This measure has been defined in the COBRACE and will enter into force in 2014. It has been estimated that this action will lead to a removal of 25,000 to 55,000 parking spaces in Brussels.
- Regional parking plan : the Brussels-Capital Region has proposed a new parking policy that would create one single system, throughout the 19 municipalities. The plan divides parking policy into four zones, in which parking is limited and/or its price varies.
This assessment system will be implemented in order to avoid "greenwashing", but mostly for valid comparisons between the environmental performance of individual buildings. In this regard, the establishment of a standard is required: it is the objective of the provisions of COBRACE and of the air, climate and energy plan, which will serve as the basis for the establishment of a system of certification and labeling of buildings that have high energy and environmental performance. This action will be implemented in 2014.
See action 12 of the annex.
Everyone knows it: the annual energy bill of the Brussels household has kept increasing in recent years. In addition, housing is often very poorly insulated and equipped, which means that only renovation work can have a significant impact on consumption: replacement of old single glazing with high-performance double glazing, insulation of the roof or attic, or installation of a regulating thermostat and thermostatic valves. For low- or medium-income families, financing these works may not always be easy, given that the savings on the energy bill are only apparent after the work is done.
That’s why Brussels has concluded a partnership with the CREDAL alternative credit cooperative to make the Brussels Green Loan available to Brussels households with a limited income. This is a zero-rate energy loan. This will soon be extended to all households in Brussels.
A solar potential operating plan of roofs of public buildings will be prepared, which will identify appropriate surfaces. Based on this operating plan, public buildings will incorporate mandatory way plants producing green energy when the potential is found. The implementation of the recommendations of the feasibility study will be required when the carrying net present value of these investments over 10 years is positive. In addition to measures related to the exemplary role of public authorities in power generation from renewable sources a proactive policy will be conducted to encourage large institutions (schools, shopping malls, administrations, ...) to be equipped with solar panels.Read More Read Less
In 2005, Brussels began introducing schemes to support and educate the households regarding energy saving in buildings and transportation. The Energy Challenge offers households a funny and socially responsible way of fighting climate change. It encourages them to make major reductions to their energy consumption and CO2 emissions simply by changing certain daily habits, and hence without the need for any financial investment. With this aim in mind, each household that participates in the Energy Challenge identifies concrete actions that they commit to implementing.
The average reduction of energy consumption is around 18%, and one ton of CO2 emission is being spared. Moreover, with a fuel consumption reduction of around 100 l every year, another 160€ and 1/4 T Co2 are saved.
The Energy House’s main mission is to support households. It is organized in two intervention levels: the central structure (coordination and support), and local structures whose main goal is at-home information assessment and support with regard to energy and ecological construction (rational energy use, renewable energy facilities, materials, etc.), access to subsidies or preferential energy loans, etc. These local structures enjoy a direct relationship with Brussels households. They will also provide free visits in order to identify priority work and achieve small works (isolating pipes, thermostatic valves, etc.). There are six “Energy Houses” distributed by zone, accessible to the public since May 2013.
Based on experience to meet the demand, the services of the House will be extended by strengthening local structures. The Energy House will also develop partnerships with other actors in the field to disseminate the tools and actions.
As a vision of mobility by 2015-2018, this Plan provides a series of steps intended to improve daily life for Brussels residents, commuters and tourists. It strives to establish an equilibrium between mobility needs and the quality of life in the region. It aims at controlling and rationalizing the request for car mobility, developing public transport and at organizing the urban development according to pedestrians, cyclists and public transports. The main targets of the IRIS 2 plan are a reduction of the volume of traffic from 6% to 10% in 2015 and 20% in 2018 compared to 2001, and a reduction of the number of road-side parking spaces by 16% (between 2010 and 2020).Read More Read Less
In 2004, Brussels-Capital Region chose a green certificate mechanism to finance the green electricity production instead of a feeding tariff. The green certificate mechanism have the obvious advantage to complete the different ways to produce green electricity: the market will adopt the more efficient and profitable way, according that each technology will receive the same amount of green certificate per MWh of saving. Between 2004 and 2012, 1.1 millions of green certificates must be returned by electrical suppliers to the network regulator. It means a support of US$ 150 million for producers. There is also an incentive to the investment: 3 727 subsidies were given to solar energy producers (solar boiler and photovoltaic panels) based in Brussels between 2004 and 2011 for a total amount of US$ 20 million.Read More Read Less
In a big city as Brussels, there are many apartments, and many co-owned properties. For those, implementing energy saving works can be more difficult. Within the air, climate and energy plan, the Government has decided to address this particular public. In the short term, communication tools and decision support will be developed to the owners in order to promote investment in condominiums, specifically, model conventions will be established, which will specify the responsibilities of each other in assuming the installation of a collective installation on a common roof or on a common roof private installation.
In the near future, the financing of work in co-owned properties will also be facilitated by the possibility of presenting common issues to obtain green loans. In the medium term, a specific funding mechanism to the problem of condominiums will be developed.
In 2009, through the Brussels capital Region Government statement for 2009-2014, Brussels has committed itself to reduce its CO2 emissions per capita by 40% by 2025 compared with 1990. This pledge has been confirmed through the Covenant of Mayors, in 2010, and into its Action Plan for a Low Carbon Brussels by 2025. This objective has also been confirmed into the Regional sustainable development plan, the regional framework plan, which has been approved in September 2013.
On the long term range, Brussels wants to intensify the current trend to move towards a longer-term objective of reduction of 80 to 95% of the GHG emissions in 2050 and to move towards a supply based on 100% renewable energy by 2050 and will define a strategy to reach this ambitious objective.
In the first place for the public buildings which are not planned for renovating, the Region has developed Local Action Plans for Energy Management (PLAGE). PLAGE projects develop a coherent and coordinated set of measures, which aims at identify the potential for energy savings and priorities for action.
The PLAGE methodology is planned over 4 years, the first year being dedicated to identify priority buildings, set up an energy accounting, develop an action plan and define a target, and following 3 years to achieve action plan, make an assessment report and verify the results.
The PLAGE experience has defined a reduction potential of 20 to 30% of heating consumption without major investment. Based on this experience gained through its application to public buildings throughout the Region, in 2015, this mechanism will become compulsory for all public owners as of 50,000m² and for all private owners as of 100,000 m²
The heat island is a specific urban vulnerability to climate change : the main cause of the urban heat island is modification of the land surface by urban development which uses materials which effectively retain heat. Mitigation of the urban heat island effect can be accomplished through the use of green roofs and the use of lighter-colored surfaces in urban areas, which reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Those measures are included in the regional air-climate-energy Plan (see above), in chapter 8.Read More Read Less
Brussels has developed a network of facilitators and advisors for professionals. These experts introduce professionals to technical innovations in the areas of energy and eco-design. These specialists are selected through calls for tenders. Two kinds of facilitator exist : the sustainable building facilitators and the sustainable neighbourhood facilitators. Their mission consists of providing free advice and free guidance to project sponsors in technical matters relating to the areas of energy, including renewable energy, cogeneration and eco-design, on the level of both buildings and their facilities and neighbourhoods. They also organise seminars, visits or trips, etc. Facilitators are accessible by calling a free phone number. To accelerate the thorough renovation of the buildings, sustainable building facilitator service will be improved and made more dynamic.Read More Read Less
The air-climate-energy plan is the planning document linked to the Brussels integrated approach of air, climate and energy topics, which has already been declined into a regulation document (Brussels Air, Climate and Energy Code – COBRACE – see above). The plan is dedicated to help Brussels to achieve its 30% reduction (40%/capita) of CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2025. It declines Brussels Region objectives to 10 years and measures for 5 years regarding energy, including renewable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation and air quality.
The plan defines 130 actions into 59 measures which are declined into 9 axes : building, transportation, economy, global city planning, consumption, social dimension, climate change adaptation, air surveillance and flexible mechanisms.
The Brussels air-climate-energy plan has been adopted by the Government in September 2013.
The PLAN actions are defined in annex and some of them are exposed in details in the other actions.
To support the injection of biogas into the natural gas network of the Brussels Region, the Government has proposed to Parliament through an order to set up a feeding rate.
A project leader has already shown interest in setting up a plant treating 100,000 tons / year of organic waste for the production of 80 GWh biomethane which will be injected into the natural gas network and which will cover 1% of the total consumption of natural gas in Brussels. The priority is to use the biomethane in transport via the public company Brussels public transport (STIB) buses running on compressed natural gas.
Such a project can be created through the feeding rate which, unlike single mechanism of green certificates, allows to encourage the injection of biomethane into the natural gas network.
Since 2004, Brussels-Capital Region offers to individuals and businesses a set of ‘Energy’ subsidies for renovation projects or for energy efficient appliances. The subsidies concern renewable energy facilities (solar boiler and photovoltaic panels), CHP, district heating, energy audit, insulation, super-insulating glazing, high-performance boilers, green rooftops or façades, ventilation, energy efficient appliances (refrigerator, washing machines, etc.). Specific aid supports new construction to the passive standard (heating demand <15 kWh/m²yr) and refurbishment to the low energy or very low energy level. Social criteria have progressively been introduced to favour low-income households. The energy subsidy system is financed by a levy on gas and electricity consumers. Thanks to the integrated air-climate-energy plan, the system of 'energy' premiums will be reinforced.
Investment: as of 2004, more than 150,000 subsidies have been offered, for a total amount of US$ 135 million between 2004 and 2013 (more than US$ 26 million/year from 2013).
Here is a summary of Brussels' strategy to a low carbon policy.Read More Read Less
Since 2004, Brussels has been developing a large range of ambitious climate and energy policies, targeting in priority the building sector, as first emitter of CO2 and first consumer of energy, and transportation sector as second. The results of these policies are already very visible, since they showed a 25% reduction in energy consumption/inhabitants between 2004 and 2011.
The building energy policy was shown as an example by the European Commission, which awarded the Brussels-Capital Region the Sustainable Energy Award in 2012.
The basic principle is simple: the third-party investor is repaid in part on the energy savings due to the investment financed and contractually guarantees the to improve improvement of the energy performance of the building. The Region will establish a regional public ESCO who realize and pre-finance projects that contribute to energy savings, even in the production of green energy in public buildings. The Region will also appoint a public operator who will provide third-party financing service to public buildings ‘owners.
Furthermore, the Region will ensure to mobilize - for example through citizens cooperatives - potentially very large resources in order to spend on renewable energy projects, benefiting the community economically and environmentally sustainable and more profitable than non-risky alternative investments. This mechanism will be financed by the structural funds.
Besides numerous training Brussels Environment organizes awareness seminars dedicated to general public or information seminars (dedicated to professional audience), but also conferences and site visits.
With one seminar per month, the Brussels-Capital covers all the aspects of sustainable building, with a particular focus on energy, according to a regular rhythm. These seminars are designed to provide the latest news, recent regulations or current events. These seminars are always sold out, demonstrating a clear interest in Brussels for these issues. In addition, Brussels Environment support and participates in seminars organized by other organizations and offers visit of different emblematic projects.
As an example, the programme for the next seminar (23 oct. 2013) on Agenda 21 is attached.
In addition to direct financial incentives, the Government to the Brussels-Capital Region awards Green Certificates (GC) to all renewable energy producers. The number of GC granted is directly proportional to the CO2 savings made by the installation compared to a benchmark. In order to assure their selling, all electricity suppliers in the Brussels-Capital Region must purchase an annual quota of green certificates proportional to the volume of electricity they sell on the Brussels market. The new scheme (July 2011) is designed to assure the private installation pays for itself in less than 7 years. This has led to the development of more and more installations of solar panels in Brussels, especially large ones. The total surface of solar panels in the Region now amounts 206,000m², equivalent to 41 football fields. A new order from 2012 defines a growing trend of green electricity production from 1.4% in 2011 to reach at least 12% by 2025.Read More Read Less
The Brussels Government has decided to introduce a progressive and inclusive pricing for electricity in order to promote its use and the energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. This measure will promotes the rational use of energy (behavior effect) for all consumers, it relieves the bill of weak consumers, who are statistically the most disadvantaged citizens who rarely have the opportunity to make energy-saving investments and it will eventually increase the bill for large consumers, prompting them to make more energy-saving investments to lower their consumption (and thus their bill). This action will be implemented from January 2015.Read More Read Less
The introduction of a smart pricing, in collaboration with other regions, seems the most appropriate solution to internalize costs of transportation and to rationalize the request for car mobility. The principle is that the driver of a vehicle traveling in a specific area must pay an amount per kilometer, possibly modulated according to certain parameters (type of vehicle, time, pass, type of roads, etc..). The revenue will be used to finance the improvement of the public transport supply and other amenities in sustainable mobility (active modes, shared vehicles, etc..). This will come into effect in 2016 for heavy vehicles, and it will be extended to private cars thereafter.Read More Read Less
The water-management plan’s (July 2012) objective is to minimize human-pressure impacts on aquatic ecosystems (pollution prevention and reduction, improving aquatic ecosystem conditions, flood-effect mitigation, etc.). The fifth axis calls for the management of an active rainfall-flooding prevention policy. Given that flooding has been identified as one of the most important risk factors related to climate change in Brussels, the rainfall plan takes on crucial importance among adaptation issues. The rainfall-flooding prevention plan adopts both a preventive and palliative approach. Preventive measures can help to ensure that the built environment is better adapted to increased precipitation, both in terms of improved soil infiltration and short-term water retention on plots of land. The principal palliative measure is the construction of a network of storm drains, generally connected to the sewer network.Read More Read Less
To achieve a zero energy objective in an urban context involves imagination, given the limited potential for renewable energy. In town, the photovoltaic is a well-suited technology. But the areas in roofs are limited if you want to achieve zero energy buildings. Well oriented facades can also accommodate photovoltaic panels. From an architectural point of view, we can not put the same front panel that is deposited on the roof: it is generally used in integrated construction elements panels, in order to have a "nice" facade. In addition to technological developments to offer efficient and well-integrated products, it is necessary to provide a bonus in aid to photovoltaics to see generalize this type of panel. This will soon be the case in the Brussels-Capital Region.
As example, the success story of SOLARIS building (april 2009).
The Brussels region is subject to particular climate change vulnerability given its high population density as well as its urban environment. As such, a study was carried out to evaluate the most pertinent measures as well as the relevance of resilience measures Brussels has already taken.
Regarding climate change adaptation, buildings play a capital role in terms of comfort and energy consumption. A high performance building insures a natural thermic comfort thanks to the consideration of the environment and the climate as essential for the construction, to take advantages of solar heating, thermal inertia of materials and grounds and the natural air flow.
In order to manage cooling needs, it is important to fight against a reactive adaptation which consists in using systematically air conditioning.
Generally, all measures related to energy performance of buildings have an interest in adaptation to climate change. The air-climate-energy plan (see dedicated measure) includes a chapter dedicated to adaptations.
This study is a response to the resolution of the Brussels Parliament of 19 December 2008 calling on the Government to consider the economic consequences of the high price of the barrel of Petroleum for regional administrative services and for the Brussels-Capital (RBC) and its inhabitants.
Anticipation of petrol peak is important and requests a transition towards competitive economy and requesting less fuel. The study shows that, if nowadays only 10% of the population are in fuel poverty, it will be 90% of the population in 2050 with conditions of high energy prices.
Buildings are first energy consumers (inhabitants, administrations and tertiary sector) and measures are essential in this sector. The transport sector is much more sensitive because alternative to fossil fuel are fewer and the study recommends to reduce demand at source.
Brussels contribution to international climate financing must meet a series of conditions contained in the COBRACE:
- Be complementary to investments related to the acquisition of carbon units;
- Be complementary to official development assistance (ODA) of Belgium;
- Be additional to regional actions to reduce emissions;
- Meet environmental criteria and socio-economic sustainable development.
As a first step, the Region has invested 1.2 million euros for the fast start climate finance. This contribution is meant to become recurrent and grow over the years.The Region has favored a multilateral funding through the adaptation fund. As the name says, this fund focuses on adaptation measures in developing countries, especially the poorest and small island countries in order to contribute to a better balance between funding "mitigation" funding and "adaptation" in the UNFCCC. By doing such an investment, Brussels has become the first public authority to invest into this adaptation fund.
The study on adaptation to climate change in the Brussels-Capital highlighted that the Soignes Forest is particularly vulnerable to expected climate change. Several risks have been identified: the first and main risk is the decline of the cathedral beech forest that covers 65% of the surface of the forest (beech represents 74% of species present) and more frequent droughts also threaten the oak tree that covers 14% of the surface. The second risk is related to changes in wind patterns and storm events, but unfortunately no projection on this aspect there is to this day.
The monitoring of the evolution of the forest has therefor been reinforced, especially in regard to the various health risks of vegetation and risks due to global warming (new parasites, extending the area of presence or virulence current parasites, parasite development on stressed trees, etc.).
The Brussels Capital Region has reported 9 Community emission inventories, since 1990. In its latest inventory, compiled in 2011, the Stationary energy and Transport are identified as key emission sources.
Minister-President Rudi VervoortBrussels Capital Region, Belgium