Our customers have their say

Pieter-Jan Bogaert – (former) Compliance, Sustainability & SHE Manager Belgium at FrieslandCampina

FrieslandCampina supplies consumer products (milk, yoghurt, cheese, infant nutrition and desserts), products for the professional market (including cream and butter products), and ingredients and semi-finished products for infant nutrition producers, the food industry and the pharmaceutical sector. With branches in 32 countries and exports to more than 100 countries worldwide, it is one of the world’s largest dairy companies. Until mid-October 2022, Pieter-Jan Bogaert was Compliance, Sustainability & SHE Manager for the four Belgian branches in Aalter, Bornem, Lummen and Ghent.

“Bart Verplancke and his team came on board at FrieslandCampina in Aalter in 2006. I’ve worked with them throughout my career there – since 2008. The common thread in those 14 years has been the energy policy agreements (formerly: benchmarking covenant) that we concluded with the Flemish government for 4 years at a time. Each contained a plan that we were obliged to implement and that was monitored by the government verifier. We always called in Industrium as an external energy expert to detect energy-saving measures and to draw up an energy plan. Being active in different companies, they know what’s happening in the market and have expertise down to the smallest detail. Knowing well how the entire process works, they can support us in reporting correctly to the verification agency.”

“With each major project involving a significant increase in energy consumption, we’ve brought in Industrium to carry out the mandatory energy studies. They offer several advantages. First and foremost, they have the knowledge and experience to present us with the most up-to-date and most suitable technologies every time. The fact that they also work in other food companies is an added value for us because the energy processes in the sector are parallel. Another advantage is that the government sees them as a reliable player as they have been conducting various energy studies for many years. Finally, the many years of cooperation with us is also an added value. If you hire a new external energy expert every time, he has to first get to know the entire company in order to frame that specific project. Industrium has always had a head start here.”

“Another type of collaboration involves examining specific utilities to see how we can improve the overall process. For example, Industrium examined our ice water installation and mapped out the complete heat balance. Now we are doing another update of the cold balance based on their work in past years. Each time, they spent hours on our site carrying out measurements, and analysed all that data. So what we got was not a 'googled together' report, but concrete facts and figures from our company, linked to the right measures.”

“Recently we also brought in Industrium to develop our charging station plan. They helped devise the concept, drew up a budget and ensured that we were able to send correct documents to potential tender parties. Then they talked to those providers and helped us evaluate the offers. Being largely relieved of this burden was a major support for us.”

“When you’re satisfied, you build a relationship and one assignment leads to another. Industrium's expertise is a crucial factor in this. The fact that they work with fixed contact points who really know what’s involved is also very important to me. Keeping to the agreements made at the start of the project and assigning the right people to the task internally is an asset that is not always so self-evident with other suppliers.”

“Bart and his team know how to get things done. For example, if something that can potentially provide useful information is not being measured, they immediately install a meter to capture that data. I appreciate that proactive approach. What is also striking: while other external parties are sometimes very careful because they don’t want to lose the customer, you are kept on your toes when working with Industrium because they really dare to question things. At FrieslandCampina, we’ve always been motivated to do energy better and better. We and Industrium have always seen eye to eye there.”

Ighor Van de Vyver – Policy advisor on fossil-free heat and Heating Strategy leader at the City of Mechelen Climate Team

“‘Team Climate’ is part of the City of Mechelen’s Strategy & ICT department. We helped draw up the city's Climate Action Plan, which fleshes out our objective to be climate-neutral by 2050. We are also involved in numerous European projects, including energy-efficient home renovations and renewable energy. The latter includes the SHIFFT project on renewable heat. These projects ensure that the city can realize its ambition. In this way Team Climate has grown into a team with more than ten colleagues.”

“I got to know Ingenium when we started work on designing a heating strategy. The central question is: how can we heat every building in Mechelen in 2050 without fuel oil or gas? In autumn 2020, we sought technical support and expertise to map out the heat demand and possible sources of renewable heat. This assignment was carried out by Ingenium, which collaborated with participation expert Annick Vanhove (for Levuur, and since August 2021 for Contutti). For us this was a first step towards a local heating policy, which we are still developing. The study produced a great deal of map material and a basis for heat zoning. This way we know, for each separate zone, the most desirable technical solution – renovating with a heat pump or a heating network – and its social cost. That assignment has now been expanded: Ingenium and Contutti will set up workshops with local experts to move from vision to action plans and a realistic policy plan to achieve our ambition.”

“A second study for which Ingenium was selected concerns Ragheno. With 2,500 homes and over 100,000 m2 of office space, this former brownfield site behind the station is the largest urban development project in Mechelen. Together with Sumaqua and Opus 25, Ingenium has proposed a large-scale energy concept based on sustainable heat. This is now being investigated further. A third study covers the Mechelse Vesten climate district. In the summer, we were selected by Labo Ruimte (Environment Department + Team Vlaams Bouwmeester) of the Flemish government as one of the three pilot projects for a climate district. We want to investigate whether a distant heating network is feasible along our Mechelse Vesten, including the collective renovation of apartment buildings along that route. For this research, we were looking for a very multidisciplinary team. The proposal for a consortium consisting of Ingenium, Levuur, Atelier Horizon, Bureau Bouwtechniek and Meta Advocaten was successful, and the report has now been delivered. These are three highly ambitious studies, of which the last is of key strategic importance. Because installing a heat network in existing urban fabric is not child’s play. But with the Vesten being converted to one-way traffic, this refurbishment project will be great opportunity to see whether the roadworks can include a distant heating network.”

“As a city, we are looking for expertise in such projects. Unlike Roeselare or Bruges, for example, which have many decades of experience with distance heating, this is a totally new area for us. We felt unsure of ourselves and therefore sought expert advice. Ingenium's knowledge of distance heating networks is enormous. They are also very present in this field. We are now taking our first steps in working groups that are shaping policy at higher government levels, and there too we regularly encounter Ingenium’s experts. It gives confidence that they know what they are talking about. Ask a question and you always receive a well-founded answer.”

“What also struck me is how well they know the Mechelen context. They have previously collaborated on energy and sustainability projects here, including the Komet site, the new Keerdok urban district, the Sint-Maartens hospital and the Kantvelde residential development. That was very important to me.”

“What’s unique about Ingenium is that they always start from a multidisciplinary approach. For each of the three projects we’ve set up over the past two years, they were able to assess well which partners with complementary expertise were best suited to achieve the optimal result. The opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary context was definitely an added value. Moreover, I always had the feeling that we worked more as collaborators and in a team than in a client/contractor relationship. Because the topics are very complex, it is nice to take on such assignments together, and to feel that we click together, and that they also appreciate the cooperation with us. For us it’s important that people who work with us are happy to do so.” (laughs)

“Our studies started during the corona period. So it was not an easy situation. Since we started in 2020, I’ve seen Joris from Ingenium only a few times in the autumn of 2022. So it was mainly remote and digital, but it worked. We had a good mutual understanding. And if there was ever something sensitive, we grabbed the phone to clear it up. There was an openness to hear each other's vision, both from them to us and vice versa.”

“So far, the collaboration with Ingenium has always proven an added value for us. By the way, we are now considering applying together for a European project. It would be great to work again together in the future.


Elvira Servaes is Senior Project Manager Implementation in the Construction Projects department of the Flemish Government’s Facilities Agency. “We put construction projects onto the market for various clients in the Flemish public administration and supervise them until they are completely finished. One of the major dossiers in recent years has been the renovation of the Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA). The building, closed in 2011, will reopen in September of this year, having undergone a real metamorphosis in the meantime. I myself have been involved in this project for a good 3 years now, following on from a colleague.”

“In these years I’ve built up good relationships with all construction partners. But I found I needed someone by my side who was more skilled in technologies and could guide me as we moved towards delivery. There was no one available in our agency, so, based on our framework contract, I put the question to Ingenium. In this way they came on board very late, about a year before delivery in 2020. In such a situation, as a new player you have to stay in the background, because in such large, long-term projects you can find yourself walking on eggshells. But first Nico and later Wouter sensed this well and gave me advice 'off-stage' about things that were important. Congratulations to them for familiarizing themselves with such a complex file in such a short period of time. As time has gone on, they have become totally accepted as fully-fledged partners and have also become more prominent. The fact of having experience in the area, of already knowing many of the partners around the table, and of an absence of possible resentment from collaboration in previous projects, facilitated communication.”

“It’s been an almost two years gap between the completion and the opening of the museum, during which the building must of course remain up to standard. With our having no one available internally for this, Ingenium also took on the building management. In concrete terms, this involved a weekly tour of the site and a check of the digital building management system to check that everything was still OK and to signal any problems to the contractor, maintenance technicians or inspection authorities. In the meantime, the KMKSA itself has recruited people to take over, and a commercial party has also been appointed for technical maintenance. Ingenium drew up the specifications for the maintenance contract and screened the submitted offers, and will also further supervise the start-up and monitoring of the maintenance contract.”

“For me it was a very nice and very open collaboration, in which we quickly got on each other’s wavelengths and did not have a blinkered view. There was always room to discuss their proposals and to ask for alternatives. They look beyond the immediate situation and take into account what you are looking to achieve." 

"Nico and Wouter were also very available for me: I could always call them and they quickly gave me an answer that I could continue with. Moreover, their high degree of involvement was also noticeable. For Ingenium, this project is just one of a very large portfolio, and on top of that a project that they got dropped into only at the very end. And yet I felt that this was not a 'quick job' but a real commitment to master the file in a short time and to think along and cooperate where necessary. In addition to their technical knowledge, it is also the human knowledge and the sense for and dealing with sometimes delicate situations that for me has been a real plus. Collaboration should be about building, and always in a constructive way. Only this way can all parties – also in conflicts – sit around the table to find solutions.”


UZ Brussels (Brussels University Hospital) covers a floor area of 136,000 m² and has 721 beds. Its technical installations are shared with the university medicine and pharmacy campus on the same site. Sven Hebbelinck has headed the Technical Department since 2002.

A few years ago we launched a tender competition for a framework agreement for a number of engineering assignments. There were 4 candidates and the contract was assigned to Ingenium in early 2018.

"A major factor in our choice was Ingenium’s emphasis on quality assurance, both in their designs and in their budget monitoring. But what stood out even more was the focus on the final phase of a project, which we call commissioning. Many consultancies treat this step rather off-handedly, thereby passing the problems on to the client. It’s important to us that the design consultancy, together with ourselves and the contractor, carry out tests to check that everything has been implemented as designed, and that it works as provided for in the plans. Ingenium’s separate commissioning team gives us that certainty.”

In those 3 years we have tackled various projects together with Ingenium. At our power plant, our CHP had to be connected with the boilers, and then the entire downstream route with various substations. We also installed a new domestic hot water installation and a new cooling unit in our ward block. In addition, Ingenium assisted us in the supervision and follow-up of a project for the pharmacy department which had been developed by a foreign consultancy. A number of conversion and renovation projects are under way, for various laboratories and also for a new gastro-endoscopy unit. And we are in the process of renovating the cooling of our outpatient clinic.

These are mainly total assignments. With each project we know broadly where we want to end up. Ingenium then helps us to work this out conceptually and engineer it. Once this is done, competition files are drawn up to have the works carried out by our house contractors or to award them via public contracts. The execution of the works is monitored and at the end there is the commissioning. It is important to us that Ingenium understands where we want to go. This is not always easy, because there is never just one solution to a technical problem. My own engineers and experts also have their own ideas, and ideas can sometimes clash. But it is important to keep overall watch over the engineering technologies on the site, today and in the future.

“Ingenium’s task is to work out the sub-aspects, while thinking along critically and being creative. Sensing this, for giving shape to their ideas and then developing them in our direction, is something they are very good at."

It is not always easy for external parties that we operate in a very flexible environment. Constantly gaining new insights and regularly changing your mind is commonplace in our sector. Our clients are doctors, not technicians. They sometimes think that anything is possible, and that you can come up with a completely different opinion even at the last minute. The corona crisis makes this even more visible. While a consultancy often wants you to first explain everything well, after which they crawl behind their drawing boards and come back a few months later with the solution. By which time, however, it may be outdated.

“Ingenium now knows our sector well enough to be able to handle this great flexibility. They certainly don't mind having to respond quickly to changes.”

In the natural way of things we work together with various Ingenium employees, because our many projects have different project leaders. I get positive comments about the collaboration from everyone at our place. Things run smoothly, Ingenium is well organized and invariably fulfils its agreements correctly. They also tell me that 'the click' is there, that we are on the same wavelength and working together towards the same goal. The folks at Ingenium don’t beat about the bush. They take the bull by the horns and act to the point. That is what we want and expect.

Els Werbrouck and Els Welvaert - UGent

"For the building envelope of the Ledeganck complex, our original plan was to retain the exterior facade and build a new wall on the inside. Ingenium was able to convince us of the opposite, and we’re so happy about that now. It will result in considerable energy savings, and the asbestos has now also been removed from the 60-year-old façade.

"We are a client who like to take control, examine everything in detail and do not just accept what is being proposed. Ingenium, therefore, had little room for manoeuvre, but it did indicate proactively when our standards were not up to scratch or when changed legislation had an impact on our plans".

Ingenium always helps find solutions, both in terms of alternatives to increase living and working comfort, and with budget-friendly proposals. We also found that when they underestimated certain things, they did not deny it but communicated openly about it and adjusted it where necessary. Moreover, there is a lot of interaction within the Ingenium team itself, so that all project phases are in harmony with each other.”