The public sector is one of the best promoters of environmental sustainability and an outstanding showcase for the most innovative heating technologies. The widespread adoption of green technologies could enforce a sustainability-- oriented paradigm, also contributing to the existing European carbon reduction strategies. This is the successful case of the municipality in Zwevegem, located in West Flanders in Belgium. With over 25,000 citizens, the municipality had the desire to centralize the administrative services in one building only, opting for the refurbishment and enlargement of the whole site. All the public functions are easily accessible on the ground floor. The town hall chamber, which is ideally the symbol of the openness and the transparency of the community, is glazed over and visible from the garden situated on the beautiful south side of the building. The municipality saw the refurbishment as an opportunity to pay special attention in energy performance and therefore resolutely opted for a combination of affordable, low-maintenance, longlasting technologies. The sunlight provides along with two patios on the floor for an important source of natural light , saving on consumption of artificial light. A system of wooden facade is combined with controlled solar screens and a coverage on the south facade, thus ensuring that excess solar heat in summer is kept under control. This was an optimum balance of maximum daylight and minimum heat load.
Priority in the implementation of the administrative center was the heating system. The heating system consists of three Robur Absorption Heat Pumps fired by natural gas + air source renewable energy GAHP-A for high efficiency heating combined with a condensing boiler.
The three Robur Absorption Heat Pumps fired by natural gas + air source renewable energy installed at the administrative centre increase the total efficiency of the heating system when they are combined or integrated with boilers. Morevover, GAHPs are the most beneficial heating system to enhance the energy qualification of buildings with a considerable promotion of the building's energy classification. GAHP-A is the tested heat pump with the highest delivery water temperatures. This proves that GAHP technology is particularly suitable for retrofit applications with radiators. Moreover absorption technology is particularly suitable for climates with severe winter conditions, having been confirmed by tests as the heat pump with the most stable performance over the entire operational range of outdoor temperatures. As the system installed in Zwevegem proves, every year 13.2 tons of CO2 emissions are saved every year, which are equivalent to those absorbed by 1,812 trees or those produced by 6 green cars; every year 6 TOE are saved.