VUB makes substantial contribution to reducing campus CO2 emissions

VUB makes substantial contribution to reducing campus CO2 emissions

€11.3 million investment to make chemistry laboratories more energy efficient

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is starting a thorough renovation of its chemistry laboratories for education and research in building G on the Etterbeek campus. This will make the laboratories very energy efficient, thanks in large part to the new installation that regulates the heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the building. It will also become a state-of-the-art research and teaching environment for scientists and students. VUB is making €11.3 million available for the renovation. The project has also been selected for the 2014-2020 ERDF programme and can count on financial support worth €1.5 million from Europe and the Brussels-Capital Region.*

The existing chemical laboratories account for about 16% of energy consumption on the Etterbeek campus. After renovation, this will be significantly reduced so that CO2 emissions for the entire campus will decrease. Last year, VUB committed to a CO2 reduction of 674 tonnes per year by using solar cells that convert light into electricity, heat pumps and reusing hot air. The works will start in April 2021 at the earliest.

“VUB is reducing its CO2 emissions through rational use of energy. Not only through sustainable mobility, purchasing and other environmental measures, but also in the field of renovation and new construction,” explains infrastructure director Iwein Baeyens. “The sense of urgency of sustainable development is clearly present in the social debate. VUB wants to be the catalyst for solutions that are democratically, ecologically, socially and economically responsible.

Education and research

The new laboratories will enable scientists and students to set-up and monitor chemical reactions in a more efficient way. This will benefit not only students in chemistry, engineering and bio-engineering, but also researchers who work in these laboratories each day. The latter are very focused on research in medicinal chemistry, which seeks innovative and alternative medicines – a search that is linked to sustainability. By making improved and long-acting molecules available through more efficient production procedures, the carbon cost is greatly reduced.

*The ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) is a European regional policy tool that aims to create new opportunities for European citizens and to reduce the living standards gap between regions. Between 2007 and 2013, the ERDF programme, through the intervention of the Region and Europe, thus invested 108 million euros in 32 projects in the Brussels Capital Region. These projects concern child care, re-employment measures, training programmes, but also sustainable development, support for economic activities, and reinforcing the infrastructure and the social cohesion in the canal area. The current programme (2014-2020) contains 46 projects pertaining to access to employment, research, circular economy, innovation and improving the living environment.  Europe and the Region are investing €200 million in this new programme.


Miguel Van Steenbrugge


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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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