Text by JESS BAULDRY
THE REVOLUTION IN WILTZ Wiltz has built a tourist industry around its past as battleground for the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. Now it looks to the future, piloting pioneering circular economy projects.
HOUSING PROJECTS When the Luxembourg Ecoinnovation Cluster began searching for a hotspot to test circular economy applications, Wiltz was a natural choice. A number of projects are now in the pipeline. May 2017
SUPPORTING THE TRANSITION A. Frederik Demecheleer of PROgroup and Marcel Klesen of Luxinnovation B. Pierre Koppes, Wiltz councillor responsible for the circular economy transition
The most imminent is passive, modular apartment complex Nesto, due to open at the end of 2017. The six flats will be fully recyclable, carbon neutral and what’s more, some will be rented at 25% cheaper than market value. The smart design project is being developed by PROgroup, which is also advising the council on another pilot project in Weidingen artisanal zone, work on which will begin end 2017. The commune wants to build five 100m2 units using circular economy principles for small and mediumsized firms. “We can show people the commune built this, this is what it
cost, and show the return compared to a traditional building,” says Koppes. He adds that it will also give the council valuable experience for a planned extension at the Salzbaach industrial zone, which is reaching capacity. Businesses located there are meanwhile moving ahead to analyse waste generated to find a way for it to have value elsewhere. The most ambitious project is “Wunne mat der Wooltz”, a 250home development built along circular economy principles on a brownfield site. Developed by the national housing fund (Fonds du
he northern town of Wiltz is not an easy place to reach by car. Even with the route du Nord fully open, upon reaching Ettelbruck, motorists face a further 30 minutes through the Ardennes, along winding country roads crossing fields and forests. The journey is stunning in spring, but perilous during Luxembourg’s snowy winters. “We are at a disadvantage compared to other towns which attract more companies than Wiltz because of the road network,” town councillor Pierre Koppes explains. Wiltz has found other ways to set itself apart, however, notably in a raft of pioneering projects as a circular economy hotspot. “We thought, here’s an opportunity to position ourselves next to other towns,” says Koppes, who is responsible for the project at the council. The journey began in the Salzbaach industrial zone around 18 months ago. Circular economy principles have been practised by resident flooring firm Tarkett, among others, for several decades. These firms began working with other industrial zone tenants to collaborate on things like buying energy, training and identifying common projects. “This was the birth of the idea that industry in Salzbaach could work together,” says Luxinnovation manager Marcel Klesen, who is today supporting Wiltz in the venture.