A relatively unknown fact about Uplace is the high level of its ecological standards. It is the Uplace team’s ambition to make Uplace a zero emissions project. We aren’t sparing any effort or expense to achieve that goal.
- A 6 600-m³ harvesting tank (with the capacity of 12 swimming pools) will collect the rainwater, thus covering 50 % of the total need in water (approx. 25 million litres of rainwater per year)
- The green roofs will add 6 000 m² – the size of an average football pitch – of publicly accessible nature to the urban environment.
- Extensive sorting and recycling measures will reduce waste production by 30 %.
- Transport will be by rail and inland waterway wherever possible.
- – Heat pumps and state-of-the-art technology will minimise carbon emissions
- – Maximum use of natural light, LEDs and movement detection will reduce energy needs and save an impressive 2.4 million kWh per year, i.e. the average consumption of 685 families!
Furthermore, Uplace is helping to make accessibility to Machelen more efficient, providing better access by car but also by public transport. Obviously, the project aims to improve the site’s viability. That is why fine particles feature on the list of priorities. Research from the past few years has shown that well-chosen ‘functional’ vegetation can have a very positive impact on this problem.
Functional greenery as a weapon in the battle for better air quality
An expert in ‘functional greenery’ Elma Schoenmakers says: “The impact of traffic on the environment is clearly an important issue, but the development of this area can limit much of that impact. Functional Greenery tactics (already applied in Antwerp and Ghent) are an important key element in this context. (www.functioneelgroen.nl). For instance: a highly dense green screen can provide protection for the area behind it, ensuring that the air there doesn’t get polluted. And one relatively small tree with a 30-cm diameter trunk can absorb up to 20 kg of fine particles a year, the equivalent of 3 000 kilometres travelled by car. Shrubs and even ground cover absorb exhaust fumes, tyre wear and road particles. The location of the vegetation plays an important role in this context. In some cases, green roofs and walls are the best solution as they act as a filter while giving the wind free play. Also, each type of vegetation has its own abilities. The right tree in the right place will guarantee the best effect. The current scaremongering is definitely not the best way to support construction projects. Instead, we should think ahead, make maximum use of green technology and create nice places.”