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The Ghent Environment Service has launched a remarkable initiative to reduce energy consumption in homes and buildings in the city. Inspired by a mounting number of requests for advice on low energy renovation from home owners and tenants, it has launched a programme to match householder demand with an more appropriate offer from the construction sector. Designers, contractors and the business community in general are stimulated to develop technical, material and affordable solutions to improve energy performance in the home. The city channels these efforts to support households in most need, by providing a concerted package of guidance, assistance and accompaniment towards a more sustainable living pattern.

Executive summary

The city of Ghent has a tradition of environmental activism, so it is not surprising that it should be the first Belgian city to introduce its own Local Climate Plan. With this important addition to policy as the background, the city’s Environment Service has progressively moved to initiate more active approaches to improving environmental sustainability. Prior to the project the city had already contracted an NGO to set up an environmental advice and information point called the Milieuadvieswinkel (Environmental Advice Shop). It was partly through mounting interest in this service, from home-owners and occupiers, that environmental officers realised the untapped potential of householders who were interested in reducing their energy consumption but unsure of the options they could take. This latent demand was coupled to a realisation that on the supply side, existing business models were not yet adapted to providing homes with ready-made ecological construction or renovation solutions.

So the Duurzame vraag? Dito aanbod! project was born. The project provides a full package of assistance to help families in difficulty to cut their energy consumption – by insulating their homes or modifying heating systems, for example. Together with an arm’s-length agency (vzw REGent) set up by the city to reduce energy and water consumption, the Environment Service delivers comprehensive hands-on accompaniment for householders. This takes them through the eco-renovation process from initial energy scan to delivery of works. In parallel the project team has developed contacts with design and energy professionals, researchers, contractors and material suppliers, businesses and representative agencies in the construction sector, to develop and share eco-construction knowledge and techniques and establish sustainable supply models. Through training workshops based on peer-to-peer exchange and co-production of technical details and guidance documents with the sector, a new and mutually beneficial relationship between client and supplier has been established.

At the beginning of 2012 the project had already surpassed many of its targets in terms of providing construction advice and guiding families through a renovation trajectory, while the technical detail design guides (produced with voluntary input from experts and specialists) are much sought after and used by professionals and operators in the wider construction sector.

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Technical information


Sustainable demand meets sustainable supply

Member State and Region

Belgium - Province of East Flanders - Ghent

Duration of project

48 months (Phase 1: 11.2008 – 10.2010: 24 months; Phase 2: 10.2010 – 10.2012: 24 months)


Total budget: 283 675 € (phase 1) and 269 491 € (phase 2) – ERDF contribution: 113 470 € (phase 1) and 107 796.50 € (phase 2)

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

Vlaamse Overheid (Flemish Regional Administration)

Agentschap Ondernemen (Enterprise Agency) – Afdeling Europa Economie (Europe Economy Department)

Tel.: +32 2 553 38 63

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CCI nr of OP



Flora Van den Heuvel (project leader) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Social infrastructure, Housing, Energy Efficiency