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VINCI Energies is involved in a project in Bredene, Belgium, to create a large aquatic centre due to open its doors in 2024 with 50% lower energy consumption than a traditional swimming pool.

“The main challenge is supplying alternative energy to ensure that the aquatic complex operates reliably all year round.”

To ensure compliance with environmental regulations, the Belgian municipality of Bredene needs to close its current swimming pool by 2024. The seaside town in the north-west of the country has therefore decided to build one of the largest swimming complexes in Belgium, with greatly reduced energy consumption. Based in a local recreational area known as “Grasduinen”, this 3,000 sq. metre project is being conducted in partnership with the LAGO Group, which operates a number of aquatic centres.

To ensure that the new pool in Bredene is energy efficient in operation, a 1,200 sq. metre section of the roof will be covered with 761 solar panels, with an annual output equivalent to the consumption of 60 households. This on-site energy generation will be coupled with a geothermal energy system to ensure the pool’s energy consumption per user is half that of a traditional pool.

This project is being developed through a public-private partnership (PPP) involving three VINCI Energies business units – Cegelec HVAC Public North, Cegelec Elec North and VINCI Facilities Long Term Contracts. They are responsible for designing and installing technical solutions, as well as maintaining and operating the aquatic complex (to ensure its HVAC, electricity and water treatment systems run efficiently) over a period of 30  years.

“Cegelec and VINCI Facilities are members of S&R Group NV, which designs, builds and operates multi-purpose leisure and sports centres under the LAGO banner. Under this partnership, we have contributed to around 10 projects so far, making a name for ourselves in the swimming, sports and recreation market,” says Bart Schurmans, BU manager at Cegelec HVAC Public North.

Sustainable technologies

Designing and building the LAGO Bredene Grasduinen pool will no doubt bring several challenges. “The main challenge is providing a reliable alternative energy supply for the entire aquatic complex all year round,” explains Bart Schurmans.

“The entire design is being developed using BIM software to ensure optimal coordination with the other partners.”

In addition to the solar panels and geothermal energy system, Cegelec HVAC Public North and Cegelec Elec North supply other sustainable technologies, such as multitube heat pumps used for heating and cooling purposes, a heat pump for domestic hot water, highly efficient recovery systems for air handling units at the pool, a solar water heater, LED lighting, as well as access control and camera systems.

“The air handling units use smart technology to ensure swimming pool user comfort and energy efficiency at all times. What’s more, our highly effective building and energy management system controls and monitors all the technical systems in the building,” says Bart Schurmans.

The other major challenge is having to simultaneously engineer and coordinate the project. “The project implementation phase, from applying for a building permit to finishing the pool and beginning to operate the facilities, is only 24 months long. The entire design is therefore being developed using BIM and 3D modelling software to ensure optimal coordination with the other partners,” explains Bart Schurmans.

Once the installation phase is complete, the building will be entrusted to VINCI Facilities teams, who will be responsible for managing equipment and providing technical maintenance services.

The technical management and maintenance of the installations in swimming pools over a period of 30 years requires a very specific approach to ensure minimal failure. VINCI Facilities sets up a long-term planning of maintenance (both preventive and life cycle) in order to avoid breakdowns of the technical installations and to keep them in an optimal condition. In addition we will also manage the energy consumption. As energy becomes very precious we monitor our installations on a daily basis.” says Sophie De Decker, BU Manager at VINCI Facilities Long Term Contracts.

Future users will have access to a 25 m pool, a 520 m2 fitness centre, an interactive paddling pool, an indoor play area for children, a learner pool with an adjustable floor, a wild water section, a fun stream and a well-being space.