Building the future in Marbais

Colruyt Marbais at Chaussée de Namur 264 recently underwent an extensive renovation aimed at making the building more sustainable. The renovation work was primarily technical and innovative in nature, and largely took place behind the scenes. Samantha De Jonghe, project manager, and Laura De Pra, site manager, are part of the team that brought this project to a successful conclusion and are delighted to share all the details.

“At Marbais, we carried out a renovation on a modest scale that included switching the refrigeration system from freon to propane, which is more environmentally friendly,” Samantha explains. “Replacing this system is no small feat and impossible to do without closing the store. However, we always strive to ensure that our stores are closed for as short a time as possible, which does require careful planning and preparation. This challenge was the first – but very important – step in our project,” she adds. “We had all indoor lighting replaced with LED lighting at night, for example, so that the store could remain open. Most of the other changes took place behind the scenes, so these have had little impact on customers.”

Renovation of Colruyt Marbais
Renovation of Colruyt Marbais

“What customers might notice, however, are the changes to the checkout area where the checkout units are located. The area was very drafty and this problem has been patched up. The entire store is now airtight. This not only improves shopping comfort, but also cuts heating costs considerably,” adds Samantha.

Good communication with staff

“The staff areas, including eating and changing areas, were closed temporarily and moved into containers. This is why it is important to always inform staff properly about the schedule and renovation work to be carried out,” Laura comments. “That prevents any misunderstandings. As site manager, I’m at the site daily during the renovation works, so I can provide rapid feedback and take action immediately when problems arise.”

A renovation of this size should normally include solar panel installation as well. “Unfortunately, that is not possible with this type of roof construction. But what we can do is use the heat generated by the new refrigeration system to heat the staff areas and the store,” Laura adds. “Luckily, there is no gas connection, only an oil heating system, but this is not very eco-friendly. We’ve also installed a new high-voltage cabin, which is an upgrade from the previous medium-voltage installation. Apart from that, we’ve installed two charging stations in the car park and replaced outdated logos and traffic posts.”

“The ultimate goal is to make all of our stores CO2 neutral,” say Samantha and Laura about the future plans.

Samantha De Jonghe & Laura De Pra
The ultimate goal is to make all of our stores CO2 neutral
Renovation of Colruyt Marbais
Renovation of Colruyt Marbais