Paul Van Houtte, owner and project manager, aims to modernize a building built in 1850, in order to give it a new sustainable use. He fervently hopes that the building will be able to persist over time, at least 170 years longer. IsoHemp's natural hemp blocks play a crucial role in this circular renovation.

Hemp blocks, the ideal solution for perfect insulation and moisture control

When Paul Van Houtte acquired a building dating back to 1850, it was with the intention of modernizing it and making it sustainable. The building consists of a group of different houses in Ghent: a front building and two sheds, which were used as stables for the horses at that time. The complex is located alongside a river, which is an extra challenge in a circular renovation.

"During the transformation of this building, two things were important to me," explains Mr. Van Houtte. "With a view to a sustainable future for the building, I resolutely opted for a circular renovation on the one hand; on the other hand, I wanted to preserve the existing structure of the building while respecting all currently applicable values regarding the energy performance of buildings. All this, of course, with the greatest respect for the environment and the surroundings”. Paul naturally turned to IsoHemp’s hemp blocks as a renovation material, a solution that guarantees perfect insulation and also provides very good moisture regulation.

Excellent moisture regulation

Bruno Deraedt of BAST Architects & Engineers acted as a stability engineer and an energy efficiency advisor in this renovation project. For Bruno, the poor quality of the ground was a real pain point. "Because of the bad quality of the ground, we could not work with heavy materials. Initially, the architect proposed a wooden frame for the interior of the house, but I didn't think this was the right solution. In order to completely regulate the humidity management of the building, IsoHemp blocks seemed to be a much better solution to me".

Thanks to its high water vapor permeability, the hemp block acts as a water buffer and ensures a healthy and constant indoor climate, while the humidity level remains stable. For Bruno, the hemp block is ideal for the renovation and insulation of old buildings, old brick walls or damp walls.

Reusing materials: a must

For Bruno, this renovation was also a typical example of the reuse of building materials and of circular construction. "Paul's ambition for this renovation was to reuse as many materials as possible, and he succeeded admirably. Not only did we reuse the building itself, but also parts of it. That doesn't mean that we didn't work with new materials at all, we did, but we always ask ourselves: will future generations be able to use these materials again? According to me, this is the essence of circular construction and renovation".

Bruno sees the year 2021 as a turning point. We have reached a limit in the use of building materials, and we must opt for materials that have a positive impact on people and the environment.

In this context, IsoHemp’s hempcrete is also a favorite. After all, hemp blocks meet the strictest sustainability requirements: it is manufactured in a very energy-saving process from 100% natural materials coming from local producers. When you choose hemp blocks for your renovation project, you save more than two tons of CO2 in a sustainable way. This can count in terms of positive impact.

 

Healthy buildings

It's no surprise that Paul Van Houtte works with BAST Architects & Engineers. After all, BAST stands for healthy buildings that are built in harmony with nature and guarantee a healthy indoor climate. Because of its natural composition and origin, the hemp block also fits into this picture.

Paul Van Houtte wants the renovated housing complex to last at least another 170 years: "This building is 170 years old and I very much hope that it will last another 170 years. As I myself lead a healthy life, I find it normal that we build more and more healthy buildings. For me, a healthy life and healthy buildings go hand in hand. In this renovation project, we have taken this into account at every stage."

 

Discover this ambitious project in our video

 

Project Manager: Paul Van Houtte

Stability engineer & energy efficiency advisor: Bruno Deraedt (Bast Architects & Engineers)

Architect: Kristof Van Overbeke

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