On Tuesday 18 February, VK Architects & Engineers started drilling the soil for the BTES field of the collective housing project 'Het Bijgaardegof' in Sint-Amandsberg, Ghent. At the site of the former Malmar factory, 57 residential units, communal areas, workshops and a district health centre are currently under construction.
The BTES field is an essential part of the project, as energy will be extracted from the soil there to cool and heat the buildings. "Because we are aiming for an E-level below E30 in this project, it was a logical choice to focus on geothermal energy," says Bart Callens, Senior Project Engineer MEP at VK. "In a well insulated building, the free heat from the ground can cover part or all of the heat demand.
Free of charge heating and cooling
In this context, each building in this project was equipped with a central heat pump, which will be connected to the BTES field in a later phase. Water from the BTES field is extracted and sent to the central heat pumps, which then produce heat. This heat is distributed throughout the buildings via a 2-pipe system. All heat pumps will be connected to the same field, making energy exchange between the buildings perfectly possible.
"But the biggest advantage of working with geothermal energy is that cooling can also be provided free of charge," continues Bart Callens. "In this project we can use the free-chilling principle on the hottest days of the year. The cold stored in the BTES field during winter will be used during summer. The cooling in the living and working units will be provided by means of a climate floor, in the District Health Centre this will be done by means of a climate ceiling".
Sustainability all the way
All parties involved - including the co-housers - were committed to sustainability from the outset. This BTES field is the icing on the cake, but we certainly shouldn't forget all the other efforts. For example, there are the climate floors in the residential units and the climate ceiling in the District Health Centre. In the offices, space sensors are used to control cooling and heating.
VK also made a significant contribution in terms of water-saving measures. For example, tap water consumption is reduced by limiting the flushing volumes of toilets and urinals. Tap water flow is also reduced thanks to the use of faucet foam generators, which mixes the water with air in the faucet mouth. In addition, rainwater is also reused as a secondary source of water.