Case of the month - Brussels

MARCH 2013

Brussels Local Action Plans for Energy Management (P.L.A.G.E.)

Brussels Minister of Environment, Energy and Water Policy with the support of the Brussels-Capital Region Environment Department


The regional programme was launched in 2005 and the pilot municipalities phase started in 2006.
Territorial scope
Regional Level

Target Buildings




Public buildings

 New buildings    

Private buildings
 Existing buildings
 Industrial, services, etc.

Main Targets 

  • Achieve a 20% energy consumption reduction in public building stock;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy savings between 15% and 30%, resulting from better energy efficiency management of buildings;
  • Reach all public bodies/institutions, owners and/or managers of important building stocks or buildings with huge energy needs;
  • Obtain demonstrative and interesting PLAGE projects with financial viability of effective building energy efficiency management;
  • Bring awareness to all public administrators and managers of their building stocks and their energy saving potential.
Program Framework


Buildings sector in Brussels are responsible for 71% of energy consumption and are not characterized by their good conception neither effective energy management.

Brussels region through the transposition of the EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD) put in place a regulatory framework that will gradually improve the energy efficiency during several years. However, the necessity and desire to provide concrete and visible results in short term, determined the creation of local examples and policies that demonstrated that is possible to improve and solve the energy performance of building without large investments.

In particular for public buildings, the public authorities have a vital role in this subject, and have been manifested by the establishment of environmental management when the buildings are not undergoing renovation and by observance of energy performance and green-building criteria during renovation or new construction.

Since the public authorities can demonstrate an exemplary role on surpassing the current legislations, the Brussels region has developed Local Action Plans for Energy Management, as a multiannual demonstration programme for better energy efficiency management of public buildings.

Program Overview


Local Energy Management Action Plan (Plans Locaux d’Actions pour la Gestion Énergétique - PLAGE) programme is a demonstrative pilot project for the improvement of energy efficiency management of public buildings.

PLAGE is in accordance with the gradual introduction and implementation of a coherent and coordinated set of actions and methods applied to the buildings stock, which:

  • Gives information on its energy efficiency;
  • Enables internal management to be organised towards energy-efficiency maintenance of facilities;
  • Identifies the potential energy saving and the priority actions, in particular through building audits;
  • Raises the awareness amongst occupants of how to behave;
  • Involves energy efficiency in investment choices (new construction and renovation, refurbishment of facilities, etc);
  • Ensures transparency of information through the publication and promotion of a regular summary of results.
Successful Performances  

Since the launch of the programme in 2005, Brussels Environment Department has contributed to the implementation of PLAGE projects in all the 19 municipalities of Brussels region. The first seven municipalities (Anderlecht, Berchem-Ste-Agathe, Ixelles, Molenbeek-St-Jean, Schaerbeek, St-Gilles and Watermael-Boisfort) involved in the project started their pilot plans since 2006 followed by five major hospitals in 2007, giving rise to new members in the next year, when eight municipalities and two collective housing associations started their engagement in the PLAGE process.

After the implementation of the mentioned plans, some successful results are given below:

  • Molenbeek-St-Jean municipality: priority given to nine buildings accounting for 51% of the total gas consumption and 62% of the total consumption of all municipal buildings. These nine buildings achieved a total fuel reduction of 16% between 2005 and 2008;
  • Pierre Paulus School in Saint-Gilles: 10% fuel reduction between 2005 and 2008 thanks to the replacement of a heat transformer and the separation of the heating circuits;
  • Victor Boin swimming pool: following the installation of thermal solar panels, a condensation boiler, and the replacement of pumps and the ventilation system (with heat exchanger), the reductions achieved between 2005 and 2008 were -39% in fuel and 24% in electricity;
  • Watermael-Boisfort municipality: the consumption of public buildings decreased by 20% in 2008 compared to 2004, representing the equivalent of savings of 140,000€ on the annual expenditure and a saving of 588 tons of CO2;
  • Seventy public buildings have allowed over 11 MWh of energy to be saved or more than 2500 tonnes of CO2, or an equivalent amount of € 1.326,00 avoided in the annual budget of the first 7 pilot municipalities.
Currently, this programme supports 15 municipalities, 7 hospitals, 2 collective housing organizations and in the coming years will be extended to smaller consumers by a group of resources through collective PLAGEs, particularly in schools.