In a bid to offer naturally pure water, VIVAQUA is directly and indirectly safeguarding the environment by creating prevention areas.
The company's operating procedures are also based on environmental protection:
- VIVAQUA uses renewable sources of energy
- VIVAQUA promotes less polluting forms of travel patterns
- VIVAQUA seeks to curb waste and encourage waste recycling and recovery
- VIVAQUA has been awarded the "eco-dynamic enterprise" label
Located close to Brussels Central railway station, the new head office, ‘VIVAQUA Court’, is recognised by the Brussels-Capital Region as enjoying the status of an 'exemplary green and energy-efficient building'. It was refurbished during the 2009-2010 period on the basis of the best green technologies available. It is consistent with the relevant ecological and environmental standards thanks to its high-performance insulation, condensing boiler, climate ceilings, double-skin façade and heat recovery system.
In the three regions where it collects or delivers water, VIVAQUA has created prevention areas and sought to make the general public more aware of the need to protect water resources.
The immediate vicinity of abstraction and supply installations using gravity may have an impact on water quality. In order to safeguard these areas, VIVAQUA has acquired over 1,500 ha of land around its installations. Any human activities unrelated to water production and distribution are prohibited on this land
In sensitive areas, VIVAQUA has created a round-the-clock monitoring system manned by ‘lengthsmen' who ensure respect for the environment and the safety of the installations. These VIVAQUA employees are also required to check the appearance, odour and taste of the water passing through certain areas every day.
In Modave, VIVAQUA has joined forces with Natagora to create a nature reserve open to the public in the protection areas surrounding the catchment point and a Regional Environment Initiation Centre (CRIE). Modave is helping to make the general public more aware of the need to safeguard natural resources and the environment in the broadest sense of the term.
People living in the Walloon Region may be close to a catchment site or a pipe carrying drinking water produced by VIVAQUA. If that is the case, protective measures have to be taken to maintain the quality of safe drinking water.
Since November 2009, the electricity used by three catchment sites (accounting for over 70% of VIVAQUA's total electricity consumption) is derived from renewable sources or high-efficiency cogeneration (Guarantee of Origin Label).
In addition to the electricity it purchases, VIVAQUA has taken several initiatives to use specific alternative sources of energy. In Anderlecht (Brussels), where the company operates a Senne river screening installation, its building is heated using a water-to-water heat pump recovering heat energy from the Senne. The pump efficiency is 400 percentage points.
A heat pump (water-to-water) is being operated at the Zaventem site to recover energy from a supply pipe close by. The pump helps to heat the building, which accommodates 40 or so employees. The same site boasts over 500 m² of solar panels that meet some of the building's electricity needs.
Over one-third of employees use more environmentally friendly modes to get to work as an alternative to cars.
VIVAQUA has adopted different approaches to help to reduce travel-related pollution:
localisation and connectivity maps for the main VIVAQUA sites, showing the whereabouts and timetables of the metro, tram and bus services
excellent location of the head office –100 m from Brussels Central Station
creation of a Business Mobility Plan providing 'financial incentives' for using more environmentally friendly ways of commuting. Between 2006 (the year the plan was launched) and 2010, the scheme succeeded in cutting CO2 emissions by 200 tonnes/year
electrical bicycles available at certain sites, to attend offsite meetings or supervise worksites close by.
VIVAQUA seeks to produce the least waste possible, thereby encouraging the use of sustainable products (disposable products are prohibited), made of recycled, renewable or recyclable products, where possible. Suppliers are required to avoid overpacking and to use returnable (Euro-palettes, for example) or fully recyclable containers.
Since 2010, VIVAQUA has commonly used biodegradable hydraulic oil for its construction equipment, as it can be eliminated without adversely affecting the natural environment, and has a longer lifespan than standard oils.
Over 25 kinds of waste are sorted and directed towards suitably adapted channels for recycling, recovery or an appropriate treatment, ruling out transport operations as much as possible.
"ECO-DYNAMIC ENTERPRISE" LABEL
Several VIVAQUA sites have been awarded the "eco-dynamic enterprise" label, issued by Bruxelles Environnement. Overseeing various environmental initiatives for the Brussels-Capital Region, Bruxelles Environnement awards the label to companies in the Brussels Region making special efforts in terms of environmental management. Four sites in Brussels have received the label since early 2011, while approaches are being made for the other sites.