Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by C. Spahrbier

Brussels, a “passive” iconic city

19th March 2014

Brussels is one of the most ‘passive’ cities in Europe and will soon be the home of the two largest passive buildings in the continent: the IBGE office (15,000m2) and the Astro Tower (35,000m2). It is one of the most ‘passive’ cities in Europe; as a result of the regional government’s 2009 decision to fully embrace passive constructions.

Elia Office Brussels – Passive office building with integrated solar panel
Courtesy of

A passive building requires 10 times less energy for heating compared to a standard building. From next year onwards, all new constructions or major renovations of houses, offices and schools will have to implement the ‘passive standard’. Brussels Region will be the first in the world to adopt this standard. This region is 6 years ahead of the deadline set by a European directive, which will impose this standard in 2021.

In average, 210,000  m2 of offices and 200,000  m2 of residential buildings are built in the capital each year. According to Evelyne Huytebroeck (Brussels Environmental Minister, from the Belgian French-speaking Green party ‘Ecolo’), the potential savings in CO2 emissions will rise up to 15,000 tons per year and will represent a €5 million energy saving per year.

Rue de la Loi, an important street in the Brussels European quarter, will be turned into a “zero carbon” area, meaning the buildings will minimise their energy consumption by complying with the ‘passive standard’, and the remainder of the energy requirements will be sourced from renewable energy.

The European Green Capital

Building a sustainable future for cities is a challenge. Energy performance is one of twelve environment indicators that are assessed by an Expert Panel in the selection of a city to be awarded the European Green Capital. The award aims to provide an incentive for cities to inspire each other and share best practices, while at the same time engaging in friendly competition.

For more information on the European Green Capital Award click here.

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