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Cohousers in Ghent get a say in sustainability concept

Sogent develops Bijgaardehof, the largest cohousing project of Belgium on the former industrial Malmar-site. The design team, with VK as partner for energy optimisation, energy reporting and M&E engineering, recently presented the master plan. The design came about in a joint effort from the design team, the city of Ghent, the cohousers and end-users.

Bijgaardehof integrates characteristic industrial elements, such as brick facades and steel framework. 57 dwellings will be realised in 3 to 4 cohousing groups, besides a community health centre. The design team consists of Bogdan & Van Broeck architects, Ney & Partners, VK and LAND.

Sustainability meter communities

The master plan is partly the result of the intensive contributions from the cohousers. A separate sustainability working group was established, in order to make well-considered choices. The design of the buildings, community spaces and garden will also result from the collaboration between cohousers and design team.

For Bijgaardehof, VK applied the sustainability meter communities. This creates a clear understanding of definition of sustainability, in turn leading to better quality during construction. Moreover, the project is realised through an integrated approach, with coherent points of departure and measures.

These measures, using amongst others renewable energy and a thermal network, limits the net energy demand of the buildings to 20 kWh/m². On a yearly basis, the non-renewable primary energy consumption of the community remains below 70 kWh/m²/year.