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Roadmap
2025 • 2035 • 2050

13 programs to a climate-neutral future

The time is now. Now is the time to shift from ‘doing what can be achieved’ to ‘doing what must be achieved’. A shift that implies a systemic change to the city and its community. Leuven has the ambition, as well as the responsibility, to lead the way. The Roadmap 2025 · 2035 · 2050, drawn up by Leuven 2030 and numerous experts, serves as a guideline for achieving the goal of a climate-neutral city by 2050. In September 2019 a professional team of Program Facilitators was set up, who will translate this unique plan into further concrete action and impact.

Sustainability in buildings

Retrofitting residential buildings

01

Supplying buildings with heat is the single largest source of energy consumption; it alone accounts for about 30% of scope-1 and scope-2 emissions. A major challenge thus lies in speeding up the rate of retrofitting, thereby lowering the demand for heat. The remaining demand (for heat and electricity) is to be met with renewable energy.

The current rate of retrofitting in Leuven is just shy of 1%. The goal is to increase this figure to 3%, which corresponds to approximately 1.000 homes being retrofitted every year. At least 60% of those will need to undergo a deep retrofit, scaling back energy use to the lowest possible level. The use of fossil fuels for heating, and for the supply of hot water for domestic use, will be kept to a minimum.

A retrofitted home has many advantages (a lower energy bill, a higher level of comfort, higher real-estate value), but getting there is complex. There are tens of thousands of home owners in Leuven, and they often lack the interest, know-how, or capacity to carry out the measures needed for retrofitting. To get them on board, it will be important to provide adequate support. The program therefore places a strong focus on actively reaching out to home owners and meeting their needs. This will be done through offering tailor-made advice, ‘unburdening’ home owners via projects of joint retrofitting (in which multiple homes are retrofitted simultaneously), and addressing regulatory barriers (either at the local level or by reaching out to policymakers at a higher level). For the rental market, a separate, sector-specific approach will be developed.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


7 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 01

    Reaching out to private owners of residential buildings

  • Site 02

    Providing advisory support for retrofitting residential buildings

  • Site 03

    Addressing regulatory and financial barriers to retrofitting residential buildings

  • Site 04

    Retrofitting social housing

  • Site 05

    Setting up projects of joint retrofitting

  • Site 06

    Retrofitting private residential buildings on an individual basis

  • Site 07

    Addressing the energy consumption of equipment and appliances in residential buildings


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainability in buildings

Retrofitting non-residential buildings

02

As in residential buildings, the demand for heat and electricity in non-residential buildings accounts for roughly 30% of scope-1 and scope-2 emissions. The same challenge thus applies: scaling back heat demand by accelerating retrofitting. To scale back electricity use, greater efficiency will be needed in the use of electric equipment, such as lighting systems and electronic appliances. The program focuses on reaching out to and supporting building owners, either individually or within the frame of collective pilot projects. Many of the major players, like the City of Leuven, KU Leuven, or UZ Leuven, are founding members of Leuven 2030, and are committed to taking action and leading by example.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


9 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 08

    Retrofitting the building stock of the major building owners

  • Site 09

    Retrofitting the remaining, energy-intensive buildings

  • Site 10

    Establishing pilot districts for the non-residential sector

  • Site 11

    Reaching out to the owners of the remaining non-residential buildings

  • Site 12

    Providing advisory support for retrofitting non-residential buildings

  • Site 13

    Addressing regulatory and financial barriers to retrofitting non-residential buildings

  • Site 14

    Retrofitting individual non-residential buildings

  • Site 15

    Addressing fixed equipment in large non-residential buildings

  • Site 16

    Adapting behavior and the use of equipment in the non-residential sector


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainability in buildings

Climate-neutral new buildings

03

All new buildings must be built in accordance with the most stringent energy standards in terms of isolation, airtightness, ventilation, and heat release. This will ensure that heat demand is kept to the lowest possible level. The remaining demand for energy is to be met using renewable sources.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


3 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 17

    Addressing the regulation for new buildings

  • Site 18

    Applying smart design to new “BEN” buildings

  • Site 19

    Using sustainable and climate-neutral building materials


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainable mobility

Vibrant centers and smart location policy

04

The first building block of a shift to sustainable mobility is reducing the need for travel. This can be achieved by increasing density in the city and town centers in the Leuven region, enabling more people to live in or near the city, thereby lowering the need for travel. Areas and services that attract large numbers of people will be situated near multimodal nodes. Urban sprawl within the Leuven region will be reduced.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


6 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 20

    Making better use of the existing building stock

  • Site 21

    Establishing spatial-planning policy at the regional level

  • Site 22

    Increasing density and mixing services

  • Site 23

    Clustering popular destinations around public-transportation nodes

  • Site 24

    Reducing urban sprawl in Oost-Brabant

  • Site 25

    Rethinking services and commercial activities


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainable mobility

Sustainable modal shift

05

The second building block is achieving a modal shift. By 2030 the number of cyclists and users of public transport needs to have doubled, reducing car travel by 20%.

Achieving a shift to sustainable modes of transportation is complex. Not only will it require a profound change in behavior in a large number of Leuven’s residents and visitors, it will also require governments to facilitate and steer such behavioral change by taking measures such as: introducing low-traffic city centers, neighborhoods, and school environments; investing in safe and comfortable cycling infrastructure; ensuring a strong and highquality regional public-transport network with sufficient capacity and guaranteed passage; tightening parking policy; establishing low-emissions zones and road pricing; and facilitating the sustainable transport of goods.

A key part of the modal shift will be to evolve towards a shared-mobility system, in which mobility is offered as a service, and multiple shared modes of transportation are clustered, and made more accessible, in mobility nodes. Company cars should be discouraged and swiftly phased out. Down the line, private car ownership should make way for a system based on zero-carbon shared vehicles. Additionally, residents, as well as companies and institutions residing in Leuven, will have to significantly scale back their air travel.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


10 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 26

    Developing an integrated mobility policy

  • Site 27

    Establishing low-traffic city centers, neighborhoods, and school environments

  • Site 28

    Facilitating travel by foot

  • Site 29

    Expanding cycling rates

  • Site 30

    Expanding the use of public transportation

  • Site 31

    Expanding shared mobility

  • Site 32

    Discouraging car use and tightening parking policy

  • Site 33

    Facilitating and stimulating the sustainable transport of goods

  • Site 34

    Reducing air travel

  • Site 35

    Monitoring travel


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainable mobility

Greening the vehicle fleet

06

By 2035 all vehicles in Leuven must be carbon-free. City buses must be carbon-free by 2025. To help meet these targets, a network of EV charging stations must be set up at an accelerated pace.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


3 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 36

    Setting up a network of EV charging stations

  • Site 37

    Increasing the share of electric vehicles in the private fleet

  • Site 38

    Increasing the share of electric buses and green trucks


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Green energy

Generating green energy

07

Leuven will have to generate as much of its own green energy as possible, both on its own territory and in surrounding areas, by working with neighboring municipalities. The city may also choose to invest in green power and heat elsewhere in Belgium.

Leuven must go all-in on solar power. By 2030, ten times as much power will be generated by photovoltaic panels as today. By 2050, 15 times as much. Additionally, an ambitious wind-power plan for the entire Leuven region must be developed, with a view towards installing at least 20 wind turbines in Leuven and its surrounding areas by 2035. A local energy cooperative is to be established, to invest in local production in and outside of Leuven. The aim is for at least 40% of households in Leuven to have joined up by 2030. A local energy director is to provide support to residents and companies in shifting to clean energy, and help coordinate the complex energy projects to be carried out in Leuven.

Innovative energy concepts are to be adopted and tested in large-scale pilot projects at an accelerated pace. These may include: district heating using residual, geothermal, or sewage heat; smart micro grids with joint production and storage of electricity; and power-to-gas systems as an alternative to natural gas.

District-level energy strategies will be developed for all of Leuven, laying out a clear path for sustainable energy production and distribution. No new oil-fired boilers or grid connections for natural gas will be installed past 2025. By 2030, 25% of total heat demand (by then sharply decreased) will be met with renewable sources. By 2050, 75%.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


9 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 39

    Supporting and facilitating the energy transition

  • Site 40

    Developing district-level energy strategies for Leuven

  • Site 41

    Producing renewable heat at the building level

  • Site 42

    Expanding collective heat production

  • Site 43

    Producing energy with local biomass

  • Site 44

    Distributing heat

  • Site 45

    Expanding photovoltaic production

  • Site 46

    Installing wind turbines

  • Site 47

    Expanding local energy production and storage


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainable consumption

Sustainable and healthy eating

08

When it comes to food, there is a strong overlap between sustainability and health. Healthy food, with a responsible and balanced ratio between animal and vegetal nutrients, has a smaller impact on the climate. Healthy food should be strongly promoted, not only through awareness campaigns but also by creating an environment that stimulates affordable, healthy, and sustainable food in supermarkets, schools, companies, care centers, and so on. There should be an emphasis on seasonal food, produced locally and in an energye fficient way.

The problems of food waste and unsustainable packaging will be tackled by developing charters and action plans for the sector’s biggest players. Local production will be expanded, both by professional farmers and through collective projects. Public participation in food production will be encouraged, and the eco-efficiency of production will be sharply increased. Alongside KU Leuven and other knowledge institutions, Leuven will foster innovation in sustainable agriculture and nutrition.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


5 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 48

    Promoting sustainable and healthy food

  • Site 49

    Decreasing food waste and food packaging

  • Site 50

    Expanding participatory and sustainable food production in the Leuven region

  • Site 51

    Increasing the eco-efficiency of food production

  • Site 52

    Fostering innovation in sustainable agriculture and nutrition


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Sustainable consumption

Circular Leuven

09

We live in a world where throwing away materials, our raw materials, is the most normal thing in the world. Many materials, which are actually still very useful, end up on the ever-increasing mountain of waste. The production and processing of these materials accounts for a large proportion of Leuven's CO₂ emissions. Instead of dumping and incinerating this 'waste', we can actually reuse these materials perfectly. At the moment, a city often functions primarily as a linear system. Various flows such as biomass (food, wood,...), energy (fossil fuels, ...), minerals (metals, building materials, ...), water (drinking water,...) and finished goods go into the city. These are converted into infrastructures such as buildings or into all kinds of products. Subsequently, outgoing flows such as heat surpluses, waste flows, products, ... are generated. In such a linear system, a lot of valuable raw materials are lost.

However, if you look at a city as a kind of library of materials, you suddenly look at a building in a different way. Keeping materials in your city, retrieving them from infrastructures as if the city were a 'mine' or producing them at a short distance from your city, means that far fewer raw materials are lost. In this way we can keep created value in our city and we are less dependent on others. So the alternative to a city as a linear system is a circular city. A circular city is an important lever to reduce Leuven's footprint and to produce less greenhouse gases.

Many elements come together in the pursuit of a circular city: producing energy as locally as possible, producing food as locally as possible, building compact and adaptable buildings, sharing knowledge and data, opting for sustainable mobility, conserving water, developing a robust network of green elements, stimulating sharing, repairing, reusing and recycling, stimulating innovative circular entrepreneurs and employment, anchoring circular thinking in the general policy of the local government, ...

Leuven 2030 and the city of Leuven join forces to transform Leuven into a circular city in the next few years, step by step. We are fully committed to a circular future that offers enormous opportunities for economic and social innovation.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


5 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 53

    Circular entrepreneurship in Leuven

  • Site 54

    Building in a circular way

  • Site 55

    Repair, share and reuse

  • Site 56

    Sustainable and circular consumption

  • Site 57

    Developing knowledge and embed circular principles in policy


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload

The circular city of Leuven. How would that work?

PDF • 1500KB • 24 pagesDownload the program
Green and resilient spaces

Green and resilient spaces

10

Leuven will alleviate land-use pressures by putting a stop to the development of vacant spaces unless such development is offset by vacating spaces elsewhere (starting from 2025, 15 years ahead of Flanders) and by reducing urban sprawl.

Leuven will expand green spaces by planting more trees and by creating new green spaces in and outside of the city, on public and private land. Paved spaces (squares, parking lots, playgrounds,…) will be greened and unsealed. Buildings will be outfitted with green roofs and green facades. Biodiversity in the built environment will be enhanced. Collectively, these measures will help mitigate the heat-island effect and will strengthen the city’s resilience to heavy rainfall and droughts.

Wherever possible, carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be used, sequestering carbon in either biomass or soil. Pilot projects will be set up to store carbon captured from the atmosphere into materials.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


6 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 58

    Alleviating land-use pressures

  • Site 59

    Expanding green spaces

  • Site 60

    Enhancing biodiversity in the built environment

  • Site 61

    Expanding carbon capture and storage

  • Site 62

    Counteracting the heat-island effect

  • Site 63

    Increasing resilience to heavy rainfall and droughts


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Enabling the transition

Governance and financing

11

The City of Leuven will consider the transition towards carbon neutrality a top priority. Alongside Leuven 2030, it will intensify efforts to cooperate with other stakeholders to accelerate the transition. As part of this, the city will establish a cross-municipality cooperation platform to address, together with its neighboring municipalities, issues that transcend the local level.

Leuven 2030 will help initiate and scale up the Roadmap’s programs and sites. It will enlist program coordinators and appeal to and bring together stakeholders. It will also take charge of a number of cross-cutting sites itself. These efforts will require a structural expansion of Leuven 2030’s capacity.

A key aspect of the transition is financing. Achieving the goals defined in the Roadmap will require serious investment. Investing in sustainability is not only a moral imperative, it is also sensible economics, as making investments in the short term will prevent costs from rising in the long term. Several tools will be enlisted to help spur investment, which may include a local climate fund, ESCOs, energy cooperatives, and divestment. Absent the introduction of a binding carbon tax, local companies, organizations, and residents will be encouraged to make voluntary contributions to offset their carbon footprint. Companies will harness the power of innovative entrepreneurship to help drive the transition, and will create new economic opportunities in the process.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


8 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 64

    Intensifying stakeholder cooperation

  • Site 65

    Strengthening urban climate policy

  • Site 66

    Cooperating across municipalities in the Leuven region

  • Site 67

    Cooperating with higher authorities

  • Site 68

    Stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship

  • Site 69

    Stimulating climate-driven innovative entrepreneurship

  • Site 70

    Adopting innovative financing mechanisms

  • Site 71

    Expanding the structural capacity of Leuven 2030


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Enabling the transition

Involving everybody in the transition

12

Implementing the Roadmap will require broad support. Building and maintaining that support will require a permanent and citywide effort to raise awareness about the importance of taking action. This effort will focus not only on the challenges facing Leuven, but also on the opportunities those challenges present, for all societal actors: governments, companies, knowledge institutions, citizens, and investors. Easily accessible information should be made available to anyone wanting to take action, but efforts should also target groups that are less inclined towards sustainability, to encourage them to act, too. Special attention will be devoted to young people, who represent the city’s future.

Leuven 2030 will continue to expand its base of support. Though it has already succeeded at bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, it should continue to grow in terms of capacity, resources, network, and exposure. It should encourage its members to create or update action plans, fold their plans into the ambitions of the Roadmap, and then act on them. To succeed, the transition must bring everybody along, including societally vulnerable groups. Ensuring social justice across all sites of the Roadmap is essential, and must be constantly kept in mind. Wherever necessary, supplementary measures should be taken, for example to ensure affordable housing or to ensure access to energy and transportation.

Want to know more about this program? Contact one of the Program Facilitators.


4 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 72

    Expanding partnerships and participation

  • Site 73

    Raising awareness among the general public as well as targeted groups

  • Site 74

    Involving young people

  • Site 75

    Ensuring social justice


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload
Enabling the transition

Learning and monitoring

13

Acquiring new knowledge, sharing best practices, and monitoring progress will be key to implementing the Roadmap and to ensuring a continuous learning cycle. This roadmap is a snapshot, based on the current level of knowledge and insights. But these are subject to change, and in many areas additional research is needed, as well as experimentation through pilot projects.

The implementation of the Roadmap is itself a learning process: not only for Leuven itself, but also for other cities and municipalities, in and outside of Flanders, who will follow Leuven’s lead. The impact and effectiveness of implementation, but also the way in which it is carried out and structured, will be subject to continuous evaluation and optimization. Keeping a constant ear to the ground will ensure that innovative solutions and new insights, both from within the country and abroad, are not overlooked.

As a city that has assimilated innovation and learning into its very core, Leuven will play a leading part in the sustainable transition. Through its own research and innovation – conducted by and achieved through the university, the city’s many local experts, Leuven 2030, and Leuven MindGate – Leuven will make an active contribution to the growing base of knowledge surrounding climate action.

Monitoring and reporting emissions and actions will be essential for tracking progress. What results have been achieved? Which stakeholders have been reached? What barriers have been encountered? Such insights will help turn the Roadmap into a living document, that will be systematically updated and enriched with the latest insights.

Want to know more about this program? Contact the Program Facilitator.


4 project clustersWe will realise this program with these project clusters

  • Site 76

    Collecting and monitoring data

  • Site 77

    Acquiring knowledge and conducting research

  • Site 78

    Sharing knowledge

  • Site 79

    Updating the Roadmap


Want to read the entire summary of the Roadmap?

PDF • 538KB • 18 pagesDownload

Why this roadmap?

In recent years, Leuven 2030 has organized or supported various projects and initiatives that contribute to a sustainable future with a substantial reduction of emissions. Despite these and other efforts, our monitoring shows that carbon emissions in Leuven are not falling fast enough. High time to move up a gear! Therefore Leuven 2030, alongside a large group of experts from various disciplines, has drawn up a Roadmap. This Roadmap 2025 · 2035 · 2050 shows the major challenges we face and contains a timeline with the steps we need to take between now and 2025, 2035 and 2050 to reach carbon neutrality. The Roadmap assigns a crucial role to every inhabitant, every company, every knowledge institution and every government. Their commitment, both individually and in collaboration, is crucial to evolve towards a healthy, livable and climate-neutral Leuven by 2050.

HOW DO WE PUT THE ROADMAP INTO PRACTICE?

In order to put an ambitious plan like the Roadmap into practice, nothing can be left to chance and the commitment of many partners is essential. That is why, to implement the Roadmap, Leuven 2030 turned to its network. For each of the Roadmap’s programs, it appointed one or two Program Facilitators. These Program Facilitators, 18 in all, are a diverse set of people, including city and university staff, as well as people from the private sector. This model of implementation reinforces the notion that pursuing climate neutrality is a shared project, to which every member of the Leuven community can contribute.

Credits

Experts

This Roadmap was made possible by the valued contributions of a large number of local experts. The fact of their contribution does not necessarily imply that they endorse every part of the Roadmap. The experts contributed in their own name and not on behalf of the organizations for which they work.

Annemie Geeraerd (KU Leuven), Bart Muys (KU Leuven, RvD), Bart Vercoutere (VHM, Bringme, RvD, DC), Bert Smits (Tweeperenboom), Bruno Motten (KU Leuven), Bruno Verbeeck (Ecolife), Daan Van Tassel (Stad Leuven), David Martens (Efika Engineering cvba, RvB), Denise Jacobs (Futureproofed), Dirk Vansintjan (Ecopower), Dries Capelle (Stad Leuven), Dries Vleugels (Stad Leuven), Erik Béatse (Riso Vlaams-Brabant), Evelien Van Bockstal (Vectris), Geert De Pauw (Stad Leuven), Geert Vanhorebeek (Stad Leuven), Gert Engelen (Rikolto), Hanne Wouters (Leuven 2030 ), Ilse Premereur (Stad Leuven), Inge Pauwels (Dialoog vzw), Jan Aerts (Leuven 2030), Johan Van Reeth (BUUR, RvD, DC), Jurgen Wauman (ondernemer), Karel Van Acker (KU Leuven), Karen Allacker (KU Leuven), Karen De Geyndt (KU Leuven), Katleen Van den Broeck (HIVA), Katrien Barrat (C-Change), Katrien Rycken (Leuven 2030), Kris Bachus (Hiva), Kristine Verachtert (BUUR), Kristof Polfliet (Stad Leuven), Kurt Peeters (Stad Leuven), Lien Boogaerts (Stad Leuven), Liesbet Veroeveren (Stad Leuven), Luc Wittebolle (Suma consulting), Marielle Albert (Stad Leuven), Martin Hermy (KU Leuven), Michèle Jacobs (Leuven 2030), Miechel De Paep (BUUR), Miranda Maes (Needle), Nico Croes (Boondoggle), Patricia Schoolmeesters (Stad Leuven), Pepijn De Snijder (Karditsel bvba), Peter Tom Jones (KU Leuven), Peter Willem (Willem-Vereycken bvba), Philippe Cypers (Stad Leuven), Pieter Van Steenwegen (KU Leuven), Raf Ghijsen (UZ Leuven, RvD), Raf Van Hoorick (KU Leuven), Robin Ibens (Shaved Monkey), Sara Timmermans (KU Leuven), Serge de Gheldere (Futureproofed, RvB, DC), Stef Steyaert (Levuur cvba), Stefaan Saeys (KU Leuven, voorzitter RvB, DC), Steven Van Geertruyden (OCMW Leuven), Stijn De Jonge (KU Leuven, RvB), Stijn Neuteleers (UCL), Stijn Van Herck (Stad Leuven), Tessa Avermaete (KU Leuven), Tim Asperges (Stad Leuven), Tom Kimps (OCMW Leuven), Trui Steen (KU Leuven), Veronique Charlier (Stad Leuven), Wiet Vandaele (Stad Leuven, RvB, DC), Wouter Nilis (T’Jonck/Nilis ir-arch, RvD).

Coordination

Editing

© vzw Leuven 2030 – BUUR cvba

Special thanks to

This Roadmap has been made possible with the financial support of AGSL

Design & development of this Roadmap website