Smart Regions: the most sustainable swimming pool in Brussels

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Maintaining swimming pools has very high costs. This is why Brussels has had fewer and fewer swimming pools open to public. Moreover, some facilities are particularly polluting. Taking this into account, the Free University in Brussels (VUB) decided to take advantage of EU’s and Brussels region’s support to renovate its swimming pool and make it the most sustainable one in Brussels!

The project made the widest possible use of sustainable materials and techniques. Moreover, to minimise energy consumption, the pool building is compact, well-insulated and fitted with LED lights and a climate control system which recovers energy and humidity. This, along with heat extracted from shower water, is used for heat and electricity cogeneration. In addition, collection and treatment of some 70 % of the waste water from the complex and 40 % of the rainwater from its roof means the pool consumes 70 % less water than the average public swimming pool – an annual saving of 10 million litres. Compared to the old pool, the new facility uses 60 % less energy and emits 500 tonnes less CO2 annually. The cogeneration system covers 70 % of the pool’s heating needs, while 60 % of the electricity it produces is used for the pool and 40 % for the rest of the campus. Integrated into the existing VUB sports centre, the pool is used by academics and students – who account for about 40 % of visits – as well as schools, swimming clubs and recreational swimmers. Swimming lessons and other water-based activities in the instruction pool are aimed at children, the elderly, people with disabilities and women. By opening its pools to swimmers from outside the university, the VUB helps to create a more liveable urban environment, promotes healthy lifestyles and underlines its commitment to building strong relationships with the community. Watch the latest episode of Smart Regions to find out more! 

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