The ION headquarters are Belgium's very first CO2-neutral construction project
ION entered 2019 with a national first. Together with architects Govaert & Vanhoutte, we created the Waregem Business Park, the very first CO2-neutral building project in our country. Since this location perfectly captures all of ION's values – ambition, sustainability and best-in-class – we decided it was the perfect location for our new ION headquarters. Discover how we were able to realise this project, a first for Belgium.
ION already had the ambition to expand considerably for some time and was therefore looking for a new location. We found it on a 1.1-hectare piece of land along Expresweg in Waregem. Since the site was far too big for us alone, we decided to build a complete business park on it, with a total of five different office buildings. Moving in together with other companies offers nothing but benefits: numerous additional services can be offered, such as delivery services, and we can make use of each other's expertise. Moreover, this area is known for its many SMEs and industry, but it has a shortage of service companies. This sector is currently undergoing rapid development, which means that more offices will be needed.
Interaction and individuality
The core of the structure of the business park is very mathematical and logical. By randomly shifting the platforms within the structures, we created an interaction between the floors and we gave the concept an individual touch. On each roof there is a black skybox, a multifunctional space with a terrace, which closes off the composition of each building while offering the user access to a unique experience.
Feel at home at work
ION aims to create a homely atmosphere at work in which the ‘work’ in ‘work-life balance’ leaves more and more scope for ‘life’. Our offices are cosily furnished and there is a spacious kitchen. Colleagues who want to work out in the afternoon can shower here afterwards. There is also a professionally equipped auditorium which can seat up to 70 people.
A first for a pioneer
Project developers and the environment - they may not seem the best of friends at first sight. Nevertheless, with ION as first mover in the sector, we want to change this perception. All too often environmentally-friendly building is thought not to be financially interesting. But by thinking in the long term, the investment certainly pays for itself. Because we must not forget: the future is green!
In the future, the government will continue working towards even stricter regulations to safeguard the environment. There is no doubt about that. That is why we decided not to invest anymore in the use of fossil fuels to heat our offices. We installed climate ceilings in combination with floor convectors as well as 50 heat pumps at a depth of 80 metres. This way, the cold and heat of the earth are used in an optimal way. In all our other projects we also try to work with a heat pump or cogeneration, or we look for the most eco-friendly solution for the project in question. In addition, we have installed a lot of green roofs and LED lighting is available throughout, the intensity of which adjusts according to the time of day and the weather conditions. Finally, ION aims for CO2-neutral projects. All the CO2 that was inevitably emitted during the construction works was offset by investing in a special climate project in Uganda. This is how ION managed to turn Waregem Business Park into the first CO2-neutral project in Belgium.