Freÿr: a model for our environment

27th of February 2018

An enormous 8m long screw, weighing 2 tonnes, will drive the new wood-chip boiler at the Château de Freÿr. A project of the Laubespin-Lagarde Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, designed to reduce the environmental footprint of this listed site.

Nestling in the heart of a green and wild landscape that is listed as major Walloon heritage, the Château de Freÿr and its surrounding gardens are reputed to be ones of the most beautiful natural sites in Belgium.

In order to ensure the future of this listed site, the ASBL Domaine de Freÿr has launched the “Zero Emissions Château” project, with support and financial support from the Laubespin Lagarde Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation. Its objective is to lower the environmental footprint of the château’s buildings and gardens, whilst taking into account their context and constraints. Two particular areas are being targeted, namely energy consumption linked to heating and the treatment of waste water.

Local and renewable energy

The old, oil-burning boilers will be replaced by high-performance wood-chip boilers. Short circuits are favoured here: the wood used for the wood-chips comes from the management of the estate’s trees (forestry surplus). The screw that was installed on Wednesday, 28th February, will be used to feed the wood chips to the silo (which has a volume of 40 m³), close to the boiler

The new boiler has a power of de 500 kW (roughly 20 times the power of a domestic boiler) and will be capable of heating the entire château (roughly 4,000 m²). A particle filter will also reduce emissions, thereby further reducing the château’s environmental footprint.

Ensuring the site’s future

These renovations only really make sense if the buildings are well preserved and so an extensive programme of renovation has also been launched. The building roofs, frameworks, façade claddings, woodwork and other parts of the château that have been subjected to the ravages of time will all get a facelift. This renovation, combined with work to improve energy performance and the installation of a sewage treatment plant, to which the effluents from the château will be directly connected, will all contribute to preserving the estate for future generations.

The Laubespin-Lagarde Fund has precisely as its objective to support initiatives that bring more sustainable quality to the renovation and restoration of the Château de Freÿr. Each year, the Fund contributes some € 500,000 to these projects. Since the Fund’s creation, the château has been able to undertake large projects such as the restoration of the former gardens, making a substantial contribution to the growth of tourism in the Haute Meuse region. The Fund is presided over by Denis Mathen, Governor of the Province of Namur.