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Climate district Mechelse Vesten

Research project into the possibilities of energy-efficient renovation of co-owned apartment buildings around the inner ring road of Mechelen, combined with research into a heat network and a participation track.
  • Partners: Ingenium (expertise heat network), Atelier Horizon (urban planning advice), Levuur (participation), Metha Advocaten (legal advice), Bureau Bouwtechniek (expertise building renovation)

  • Client: Flemish Government in collaboration with the City of Mechelen

  • Timing: February 2021 - July 2022

  • Status: Executed

Climate districts

The Climate District Mechelse Vesten is part of the Climate Districts projects, an initiative of the Department of the Environment and the Flemish Government Architect's Team, united in LABO RUIMTE and in collaboration with the Flemish Energy and Climate Agency.

The initiative supports local authorities by providing specific expertise (design-related, energetic, legal, financial, participative, etc.) for the creation of a sustainable development strategy for a neighbourhood.

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Mechelse Vesten

The study formulates a plan of approach for the most integrated and future-proof renovation of the apartment buildings on the Mechelse Vesten.

Together with atelier horizon Ingenium and LEVUUR, we examined the technical preconditions of an energetic renovation, participation challenges in a co-ownership context and the possibilities of a sustainable heat source in the form of a heat network under the Vesten. Overarching these three levels, an urban planning exercise was carried out at building block level.

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  • Technical-innovative, focusing on a district development plan for a heat network along the city ring. Is a heat network linked to an urban renewal project along the Vesten feasible and interesting? This combines very technical input, related to heat demand and supply, but also looks at the Vesten as an urban zone with room for renewal and innovation: a future climate-proof part of the city.
  • Operational framework for collective energetic renovation of apartment buildings, with a very specific focus on two cases. The two cases will be representative of part of the apartment buildings along the Vesten and will thus help to provide insights on a larger scale.
  • Participation and co-creation: stakeholder analysis, support creation and coalition building are the man focus. Various types of workshops and focus discussions will facilitate customised involvement.

1408 buildings = 11.397 homes

So what exactly did we do?

Within the participation process, our colleague Arno Van Hulle was responsible for the technical investigation into the renovation of the apartment buildings. He mapped all 1408 apartment buildings on Mechelen territory and then zoomed in on the Vesten. To determine the building typologies, Arno documented all the basic properties of the buildings. Yep, of all 1408 of them. 11,397 properties to be precise. In short, not a square metre remained unturned there in Mechelen!

To give the city of Mechelen concrete keys to get building owners on the renovation wagon, we examined two concrete cases. We mapped out a plan of action to ensure that by 2050 all flats in these two case studies comply with energy label A (annual consumption <100 kWh/m2/y).

Together with Arno, we are pleased to report that in the meantime one of the case studies has actually taken steps towards energy optimisations. That already saves one of 1408 uninsulated roofs.

By examining both buildings in detail on a technical and participatory level and by documenting this thoroughly, we offer : 

  • the City of Mechelen with tools to propose a similar approach to the other 1406 apartment buildings on their territory; 
  • Flanders the possibility of doing the same for the tens of thousands of other co-owned flats.

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If Arno measured correctly, and we don't doubt it, some 75,000 m2 of roof will soon be insulated.

You have a question for our innovation specialists?

Team Knowledge Innovation & Technology (6)

prof. arch. Jan Moens

General Director
Head of Research & Development Department
Managing Director
E-mail |
Johan 3224

prof. arch. Johan Cordonnier

Project architect
Expert construction details
Façade advisor
E-mail |
Marleen 569 A0680 Gemiddeld

ir. arch. Marleen Meulenbergs

Technisch expert
E-mail |
Nadja 569 A3492 Gemiddeld

ir. arch. Nadja Van Houten

E-mail |

prof. ir. arch. Paulus Present

BIM manager
Technisch ontwerper
E-mail |
Raf 569 A3809 Gemiddeld

arch. Raf De Preter

Expert bouwdetails
Adviseur gevel
E-mail |