Property developer Steenoven and an undisclosed construction contractor have started drilling a borehole for a new thermal energy storage system in the historic city of Bruges, Belgium.
Individual geothermal heat pumps provide heating, cooling and hot water for the residents of the UNESCO-protected Boevrie housing project in the historic center of Bruges. The development measures 11,700 square meters and will include 102 apartments, 25 detached houses, eight duplexes and office space, as well as basements and underground garages.
Geothermal heat pumps were considered an alternative to solar panels to reduce the residents’ electricity bills, as UNESCO rules strictly limit the use of rooftop solar energy.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that this housing project is a perfect fit for the UNESCO site and we pay as much attention to sustainability as possible,” said Steven Langenaken, Steenoven’s project manager. “The shape of Boevrie – a large underground parking garage with compact buildings on top – makes geothermal energy the most suitable and efficient way to generate sustainable heating.”
According to Steenoven, the average source temperature of geothermal heat pumps is 10 C to 12 C. Their heating power is 40 C for floor heating and 60 C for hot domestic water.
– The underfloor heating pipe network ensures cool water circulation in the summer and passive cooling of apartments and houses, Steenoven said.
Excavating the borehole’s thermal energy storage field requires “huge investments,” Steenoven said. It added that the project’s payback period has shrunk to about 10 years because electricity prices skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The drilling works started in the second half of February and are estimated to last two months. The first residents are expected to start using geothermal heat pumps by the end of 2026.