KU Leuven

The KU Leuven is the largest university in the country, with faculties in 11 different locations. Together they accommodate around 60,000 students all over Flanders.

Leuven Climate Neutral 2030

‘We have very old buildings and are committed to making them more efficient, which is a very big challenge,’ explains Bert Vandeborght, Head of the HVAC Project Office, KU Leuven. ‘We are involved in Leuven Climate Neutral 2030 and want to play a leading role in this as a university.

Achieve maximum saving potential

‘We want to make sure we achieve the maximum saving potential throughout the entire chain. This applies both for the research conducted here by our HVAC project office department, and for its implementation when the work is carried out by a contractor,’ says Vandeborght.

New build, renovation and existing premises

‘We start to tackle these challenges by formulating clear, high-level objectives. We build new construction projects fossil-free. There is no question about this. In existing buildings or boiler rooms that are being renovated, we aim to cover a certain amount of the heat demand fossil-free – about 80% in this way. This is the high-level objective that needs to be worked out in more detail before we investigate new techniques which allow us to achieve them. We look at heat pumps and geothermal energy, for example. This is actually easily achievable in new constructions, but a major challenge for existing buildings. Finally, in addition to our big projects, we have existing premises with various older installations in operation which we also want to use as optimally as possible. The principle that we adopt here is to go for it if the investment will be repaid within half its life span.’

Hysopt helps quantify saving potential

‘An important advantage of Hysopt for us is the fact that it helps us quantify the saving potential of hydraulically optimised installations. Another advantage of the Hysopt software is that our own research department can design the systems. We can also take on the challenge of designing and validating hybrid installations of boiler rooms with boilers and heat pumps using Hysopt. We see our continued collaboration with Hysopt as something that will allow us to optimise the various buildings further over the coming years, and have signed a framework agreement with Hysopt for several years with the ambition of hydraulically optimising the buildings one at a time,’ concludes Vandeborght.