Sustainability

At the Kasteelhoeve, sustainability is not a marketing term or ‘Greenwashing’. Every day, we look for ways to reduce our burden on the environment, on people and on animals. The recognition we receive for our efforts in terms of sustainability is a rewarding acknowledgement that strengthens us in our ambition to do even better. A short summary:

The Kasteelhoeve is one of the first sites in Flanders to have been awarded the ‘De Groene Sleutel‘ label (Green Key Award) in 2012 as a meeting location and hospitality accommodation. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, we achieved the highest score of all 104 locations in Flanders. ‘De Groene Sleutel’ is an international quality label (awarded by ‘Toerisme Vlaanderen’ – Tourism Flanders) that stands for thorough sustainable renovation, layout and management.

Kasteelhoeve Wange was laureate for the ‘Best Corporate Social Responsibility‘ Award twice (in 2013 and 2014).

Kasteelhoeve Wange won the International Green Key Award—an international prize for sustainable tourism—on two separate occasions. In 2016, the Kasteelhoeve was awarded the gold medal for the most coherent and integrated solutions in terms of water conservation and the reduction of its ecological footprint. In 2017, we received this international award for ‘partnerships and local commitment to sustainable development’. In the context of these awards, Kasteelhoeve Wange was considered as the ‘most sustainable tourist company in the world’ by press and Tourisme Vlaanderen alike.

In December 2016, the Kasteelhoeve was nominated by Trends as the most sustainable, innovative and profitable company in Flemish Brabant.

De Kasteelhoeve won the ‘Climate ambassador 2016‘ award, awarded by Voka Vlaams-Brabant and the province of Flemish Brabant.

Bond Beter Leefmileu recognized us as one of the 10 forerunners in Flanders in terms of circular economy. Through the ‘Our circular future’ project, the BBL draws attention to innovative initiatives surrounding the circular economy in Belgium. A jury selected 10 forerunners as examples of what is already being realized in practice. Kasteelhoeve Wange was one of the laureates. More information can be found here.

In February 2018, Philip Van Kelst, founder and CEO of the Kasteelhoeve, won the CSR Professional of the Year 2017 award. The jury praised us: “Philip and Kasteelhoeve Wange conduct an open and transparent CSR policy, with a strong focus on inclusion. In addition, sustainability and care for the environment were core values from the very start. This makes Philip a true example for his sector! “

A stay at Kasteelhoeve Wange poses the least possible burden on the environment, on people and on animals. All this without sacrificing comfort. How do we do that?

Thoughtful choices in terms of ecological techniques

Wastewater treatment

Kasteelhoeve Wange treats all its wastewater in a closed biological treatment station. Our wastewater is purified in a completely natural way, without the addition of chemical cleaning agents. The purification results are above the legal standards (Benorm) and the purified water is allowed to run straight into the Kleine Gete. In addition, we only clean and wash with ecological cleaning and washing products.

Water recuperation

A natural pond of 100.000 litres captures rainwater that is recovered to be used in the toilets, and as water for the garden and horses. The water in this pond is partially purified by the plants on its banks. Further purification occurs through an additional pond of 10.000 litres, connected via a pump system with the large pond. These 10.000 litres are purified by a field of Japanese irises and clay substrate.

Heating with biomass

A woodchip-burning installation heats the whole site and provides us with hot water in a CO2 neutral manner. For the time being, these wood chips are sourced from a supplier located only 5 kilometres away. In time, we will be able to produce our own heating fuel.

High efficiency insulation

During the renovation, we opted for thorough insulation. This gave us a K value of 29, a very high value for a renovation. For the specialists in insulation: for a living area of 700 m2 (with high walls!) we consume less than 60.000 kW/h per year in heating! There is no air conditioning installed: the thick insulated walls keep the rooms cool in the summer.

Use of natural materials

All the wood we used (roof structures, windows, floors) is FSC-labelled (for more information see www.fsc.be). The majority of the walls and roofs are insulated with natural materials (Gutex = wood wool and Isofloc = old paper shreds). They insulate heat and sound to a very large extent. The rooms under the roof are therefore very quiet and cool in the summer, without air conditioning.

Photovoltaic solar panels

Ninety-eight photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the roof of the riding hall (200 m2). Initially this covered one hundred per cent of our energy needs. Due to the high occupancy rate of the castle farm, we are now covering only fifty per cent. We are investigating new possibilities in the field of solar, water and wind energy so as to again achieve one hundred per cent self-sufficiency.

Wastewater treatment

Kasteelhoeve Wange treats all its wastewater in a closed biological treatment station. Our wastewater is purified in a completely natural way, without the addition of chemical cleaning agents. The purification results are above the legal standards (Benorm) and the purified water is allowed to run straight into the Kleine Gete. In addition, we only clean and wash with ecological cleaning and washing products.

Water recuperation

A natural pond of 100.000 litres captures rainwater that is recovered to be used in the toilets, and as water for the garden and horses. The water in this pond is partially purified by the plants on its banks. Further purification occurs through an additional pond of 10.000 litres, connected via a pump system with the large pond. These 10.000 litres are purified by a field of Japanese irises and clay substrate.

Heating with biomass

A woodchip-burning installation heats the whole site and provides us with hot water in a CO2 neutral manner. For the time being, these wood chips are sourced from a supplier located only 5 kilometres away. In time, we will be able to produce our own heating fuel.

High efficiency insulation

During the renovation, we opted for thorough insulation. This gave us a K value of 29, a very high value for a renovation. For the specialists in insulation: for a living area of 700 m2 (with high walls!) we consume less than 60.000 kW/h per year in heating! There is no air conditioning installed: the thick insulated walls keep the rooms cool in the summer.

Use of natural materials

All the wood we used (roof structures, windows, floors) is FSC-labelled (for more information see www.fsc.be). The majority of the walls and roofs are insulated with natural materials (Gutex = wood wool and Isofloc = old paper shreds). They insulate heat and sound to a very large extent. The rooms under the roof are therefore very quiet and cool in the summer, without air conditioning.

Photovoltaic solar panels

Ninety-eight photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the roof of the riding hall (200 m2). Initially this covered one hundred per cent of our energy needs. Due to the high occupancy rate of the castle farm, we are now covering only fifty per cent. We are investigating new possibilities in the field of solar, water and wind energy so as to again achieve one hundred per cent self-sufficiency.

Production and preparation of food

We try to produce and process as much as we can ourselves, and we try to recycle our own waste as well. This is called circular economy. At the Kasteelhoeve there are bees, cattle, apple trees and a large vegetable garden of 800 m². Honey and beef are ‘homegrown’. Food products we do not produce ourselves are sourced exclusively from local suppliers. We use local products, preferably organic. All suppliers of animal products have been screened for animal-friendliness. A number of suppliers such as, for instance, Samenland, Martenshoeve, Bolderhof, De Winning and De Boogerd work together with social employment agencies. Everything we serve is preferably homemade, even our pâté and rillettes. We also offer an extensive range of vegetarian meals. Our customers can choose beforehand according to their personal preferences.

Management of the farm and the domain

We use green label products exclusively: shower soap, floor soap and laundry products. No toxic or environmentally harmful products are used on the property; weeds are mowed, pulled out or burned where necessary. The fourteen-hectare domain is a veritable refuge for animals. It is, for example, home to the 4 different types of owls that occur in Flanders.

Partnerships

Of course, the Kasteelhoeve cannot do all this alone. Our sustainable mission is realised together with others. We don’t know anything about cows or bees or apple trees. Others take care of this, help us or take over the care. The Kasteelhoeve engages in creating connections. The cows of De Vaerendriesch graze on our pastures, we serve the beef to our guests. The apple trees are maintained and pruned by Den Boogerd, and they provide us with delicious juice. The bees in their hives under the birch trees are managed by Michel Asperges and his colleague, a beekeeper of the Royal Flemish Beekeepers Association. We serve the delicious linden and spring honey at breakfast and teatime…