Heat and comfort as a service in social housing construction

In classic energy-saving projects today, some system failures exist. Installations are often oversized, not optimised and there is little feedback on what actually works in practice. Thus, energy renovations actually save (much) less than is possible or promised. 

With the Powerfactory project, Factor4 wants to involve all links in the production chain in the design of energy-saving measures and develop a system of performance-based payments. For example, we want to realise energy-saving projects in apartment buildings based on a service agreement: we do not sell a new heating installation, but offer heat and comfort as a service. 

Specifically, this project involves developing a business plan around offering heat and comfort as a service, carrying out feasibility studies, developing a concrete offer and a pilot project in two buildings. 

The ultimate aim is to apply the model more widely, including in private apartment buildings and in tertiary buildings such as hospitals and rest and care homes. To this end, we are planning an information and communication campaign around the concrete offer and the pilot projects.


Partners Viessmann, VMSW, CO2Logic, Bondec, A33





  1. We contacted 273 social housing companies, after which we selected four for feasibility studies: Dijledal (Leuven), GMH Beveren, Elk Zijn Huis (Tervuren) and Woonhaven (Antwerp). Elk Zijn Huis and GMH Beveren became our pilot projects. 
  2. In GMH Beveren, electric heating was initially decentralised. There we developed a central system based on heat pumps and heat pump boilers in combination with PV panels. 
  3. Elk Zijn Huis in Tervuren faced a whole series of technical and structural problems. There, in collaboration with the architects of A33, we worked out a comprehensive energetic and structural renovation. 
  4. The partnership with the various project partners was successful. By working together on a concrete project, we exchanged a lot of specialised knowledge on circular materials and performance-based contracts.


  1. It was a challenge to convince building partners of the benefits of performance-based and circular energy renovations. This project has helped spread information about those benefits and increased market confidence
  2. One of our goals is to offer SHMs a low-cost and reliable alternative to a traditional energy-saving project. However, since the occupants of these buildings already pay a social tariff for their energy, it is almost impossible to propose an even more advantageous price. 
  3. We have significantly increased our knowledge of change management projects specifically for social housing. This may also allow us to convince interested building partners more quickly in the future. 
  4. To offer heat and comfort as a service, it is crucial that we involve the entire chain in the design. Unfortunately, present public procurement legislation currently offers few opportunities here.
237 SHMs contacted
4 feasibility studies
2 renovation projects


Given the climate ambitions of the Flemish government and local authorities, significant investments in building energy renovations will be needed in the coming years. The potential of circular or performance-based energy renovations is therefore very high.