"Affordable and sustainable energy? One does not exclude the other!"

8 March 2021

Belgian Energy Service Company ComTIS Energy launches heating and cooling subscription to meet climate targets

Buildings account for approximately 30% of the global CO2 emissions. Reducing these emissions requires an optimisation of our energy use. An Energy Service Company (ESCO) such as ComTIS Energy [BESIX Group] wants to tackle this in an affordable way by supplying sustainable heating and cooling via a subscription formula. "Comfort as a Service" will be applied for the first time in the first gas-free neighbourhood in Diest (Belgium).

High investment cost is a stumbling block

Today, there are numerous sustainable solutions for ensuring a more efficient use of energy in new building and renovation projects. Think of geothermal energy, heat pumps, etc. However, the high investment cost is a stumbling block for many, so they often opt for the cheaper - and polluting - solutions with fossil fuels. Alternative solutions do exist, but they are rarely used, require professional know-how and remain a large investment.

‘Comfort as a Service’

With 'comfort as a service', ComTIS Energy wants to relieve owners of these large expenses. The company bears the high costs associated with the installation and will manage it in order to guarantee the supply of sustainable heating (or cooling). Residents pay via a monthly contribution according to their consumption. "We look at the total cost, not just the cost of the installation and activation. When you buy a car you also think about maintenance and running costs, why shouldn't this be the case for sustainable heating?" says Geert Vermeyen, manager at ComTIS Energy. The new installation is more economical in energy consumption and more efficient in maintenance. These savings finance the higher installation costs of the sustainable installation.

100% ownership upon contract expiry

Crucial here is the proper estimation of the predicted savings in terms of energy consumption and maintenance over a long period. For a new building, ComTIS Energy makes an estimate, for renovation projects, owners can compare this to their current costs. "Within a reasonable period of time (usually 10 to 15 years) you then pay a monthly amount. This includes the heating and cooling, the optimal adjustment and the maintenance of the installation. At the end of the contract, you are the owner of the sustainable installation with a longer lifespan," says Vermeyen.

Financing sustainability

ComTIS Energy aims to help realise the energy transition and also provide sustainable solutions for those with a limited budget. "With 'Comfort as a Service', we believe in a long-term relationship with the customer in which sustainability, finances sustainability," says Vermeyen. In doing so, they draw on the various competences within Groep Vanhout, thus contributing to the objective of BESIX Group, of which they are a part: creating sustainable solutions for a better world.

Developer Cores is the first to apply the affordable-sustainable formula. In the first gas-free neighbourhood in Diest (Belgium), which is being developed in collaboration with Vanhout Projects, the heating will be supplied to the De Tuilerie housing project via a BEO field and solar panels. ComTIS Energy will organise the supply for 15 years.

In the De Tuilerie residential project in Diest(Belgium), ComTIS Energy organises the heat supply via a BEO field and solar panels for the next 15 years. Source: CORES Development.
Heat supply via a BEO field. Source: CORES Development.
From left to right: Ward Peeters (Project developer Vanhout Projects), Bert Lenaerts (Managing Director Vanhout Group) and Geert Vermeyen (Manager ComTIS Energy).