The construction of the new Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre is entering the final phase. From January 2022 onwards, numerous activities will be taking place inside this building, located in a completely refurbished neighbourhood.
Allow us to elaborate on the innovative construction and management of the building.
From the start of the construction works, ‘Beursgenootschap Souto de Mouro – META – CFE – the construction team responsible for the complete realization of the building – decidedly opted for an ecological approach. The construction shed, for instance, was designed in such a way as to make online meetings as convenient as possible (online meeting soon also became the new normal as a result of the Covid-19 measures). This online digital approach had a positive impact on transportation, and therefore inevitably also had a positive impact on the environment. Moreover, digital meetings reduce the need for large meeting spaces.
The entire construction process was done using BIM technology (Building Information Model), with an ‘intelligent’ digital model of the building enabling the exchange of information between the different project partners. This allowed for a smooth construction process (with no delays despite rigid Covid-19 measures) and shorter construction times (which also means less inconvenience for the neighbourhood). The same technology will also be used to manage the maintenance of the building.
Earlier this year, the construction team saw their efforts rewarded with a silver medal in the category ‘BIM public project’ of the Belgian Construction Awards.
But the BMCC is not only innovative in terms of construction, it will also be sustainably managed. State-of-the-art technology will be used to provide the building’s cooling and heating systems with as much renewable energy as possible and to be able to react swiftly to changing requirements. Using innovative techniques and measures to realize this, the project received a European subsidy within the TERTS project (Transition in Energy via a Government Role in Relation to the Tertiary Sector) of the Interreg Vlaanderen – Nederland programme.
Other examples illustrating the building’s durable construction:
- The choice of materials: the supporting structure of the exhibition area is made of steel (profile steel is currently made with almost 80% recycled steel). The wood for the parquet floor comes from durably managed forests. The carpet is Cradle to Cradle Certified, which means that every raw material or product used can also be fully reused. Rockwool was used for the insulation (rockwool is reusable and can be recycled 100% at the end of its life cycle). The façade consists of bricks, low in maintenance and fully recyclable.
- BTES (Borehole Thermal Energy Storage) is used for the geothermal heating and cooling system, the energy to heat and cool the building being taken from the soil.
- Solar panels will be installed on the roofs of both the convention area and the exhibition areas, reducing yearly CO2 emissions by 38 tons and saving approximately 7,600 euros per year. The other roof areas will be covered with succulent plants.
When the building is operational, it will be ‘nearly energy zero’.
All these measures illustrate how innovation, combined with new and sustainable techniques and materials, can make living and working in our historical city more attractive.