De Graeve, the Eiffage belgian subsidiary taking on the challenge of building with wood and straw

18.06.2018
De Graeve, the Eiffage belgian subsidiary taking on the challenge of building with wood and straw

Since autumn 2017, 1st and 2nd year students at a secondary school in Binche in the south Belgian Wallonia region, have been the first students in the country to have their lessons in a timber-framed building insulated with straw. The building was built by De Graeve, a subsidiary of Eiffage Benelux, which has been developing expertise in the construction of timber-framed passive or “massive-passive” buildings since 2008. These are highly technical projects that mobilise both the expertise and the creativity of the company’s teams. This particular De Graeve project is being put forward for the Green Solutions Awards, organised by the Construction 21 association.

Since autumn 2017, 1st and 2nd year students at the “Notre-Dame de Bon Secours” secondary school in Binche in the Wallonia region of Belgium, have been the first students in the country to have their lessons in a timber-framed building insulated with straw. The spacious, bright and healthy construction replaced the existing prefabricated metal structure that was energy inefficient. It is the first prefabricated school building in the French-speaking area of Belgium to be made out of timber, compressed straw and clay.

The system used for the school’s construction by De Graeve, a subsidiary of Eiffage Construction Benelux, combines three types of renewable materials: timber for the supporting structure, straw for the walls, and clay. Cork was used to insulate the roof and clay plaster for the interior surfaces. This is a positive energy building that uses each type of material in a carefully considered way so as to maximise performance and avoid wasting grey energy. Using natural materials made it possible to create buildings with a negative carbon footprint. Being of plant origin, the wood and straw contribute to carbon sequestration. This particular De Graeve project is being put forward for the Green Solutions Awards, organised by the Construction 21 association.

As part of its socially responsible approach, the building’s constructer De Graeve, founded in 1965 and based in Namur since 1985, has been developing expertise in the construction of timber-framed passive or “massive-passive” buildings since 2008. These are highly technical projects that mobilise both the expertise and the creativity of the company’s teams. New technologies, innovative materials, particular attention given to the construction process, these are all things that De Graeve is working on with its partners. Major projects carried out by the company include the first passive pre-school in the French-speaking region, 50 passive housing units for students, a passive timber-framed nursery in La Louvière, and the Ottignies communal centre in Louvain-la-Neuve (1,500 sq. metres of passive office buildings). An exceptional project consisting of 14 passive social housing apartments built over four floors using a timber frame, received numerous awards, including the Blue House 2012 award from the Foundation for Future Generations (award for sustainable and affordable buildings). De Graeve is a member of the “Passive House” platform and the CAP2020 cluster.

For more information: 
Visit the company’s website:
http://degraeve.be/nos-metiers/batiments-passifs/

http://degraeve.be/project/college-notre-dame-du-bon-secours/

http://www.pailletech.be/binche/

and the case study published on the Construction 21 website:
https://www.construction21.org/belgique/case-studies/be/college-notre-dame-de-bon-secours.html