Multi Tower to be first carbon neutral office building

Tim Harrup

Just before Christmas it was announced that the Multi Tower being developed by Immobel and WhiteWood (a total revision of the former Philips Tower at the Place de Brouckère) is to be the first carbon neutral office building in Brussels. Details of how the project will achieve this status have also been given. The principal tenant of the Multi Tower is to be Total Energies (the recently adopted new name for the French company most easily recognized for its vehicle fuel stations).

This is not without significance in the ‘neutral’ labelling. While heat pumps and solar panels will provide some of the energy required for the building to function, the remainder will be supplied by Total Energies through a green electricity purchasing contract. This electricity will come from the offshore wind farms clearly visible from Ostend and other parts of the Belgian coast to the north of there. The building will be managed by joint developer Whitewood, and its sustainability credentials (from the start of conception to the operating phase) have enabled it to obtain BREEAM Excellent certification.

The location of the building may not form part of the carbon neutrality, but it does nevertheless help to reduce emissions. This is because it is located in the pedestrian zone around the Place de Brouckère and the Stock Exchange, and has a metro station at its doorstep. Cars are therefore likely to be less used, with soft mobility options preferred. For those who do use cars, electric car recharging points are provided and in addition to this a bicycle garage is part of the infrastructure.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close speaks of the building ‘finding a new life in harmony with the pedestrian zone and with its environment’. Frédéric Van der Planke, CEO of WhiteWood, for his part speaks of ‘working in a coherent manner and enabling the methodology behind urban renovation to evolve’.