Maison Rubens

rue Rubens 92


Schaerbeek, Belgium


Ann de Nys and Stephane Filleul
Rue Rubens 92 1030 Schaerbeek


Ann de Nys and Stephane Filleul
Rue Rubens 92 1030 Schaerbeek

Contact Details

Michael de Bouw
Belgian Building Research Institute

Other Information

The “maison Rubens” is a typical middle-class row house from late 19th century, in neoclassical style. It reflects the Belgium bourgeoisie life at this period. House is organized in 3 zones: a main part including reception and living space (2/3) and secondary space for stairs, services and corridors (1/3). It has a heritage interest within its decorated front façade (balcony, ceramic tiles and blue stone) and the stucco ornamentation on the ceiling and cornicing at the top of the wall, as well as its marble mantelpiece. Since 1888 (date of construction) no major renovation had been done. The building was almost in its original condition, but in very bad conservation state. The renovation followed two main goals: i) very good insulation (using bio-based materials) and mechanical ventilation of the whole house while conserving the valuable heritage details. ii) energy consumption below 60 kWh/m²y
Energy performance
45 kWh/m2.y

Climate Zone Cfc

Altitude 30 m a.s.l.



Protection level Not listed

Conservation Area:

Level of Protection:

Building age 1850-1899

Year of last renovation:

Year of previous renovation:

Building use Residential (urban)

Secondary use:

Building occupancy:
Permanently occupied

Number of occupants/users:

Building area Net floor area [m²]: 239,2

Building typology:

Number of floors:

Basement yes/no:

Number of heated floors:

Thermal envelope area [m²]:

Volume [m³]:

NFA calculation method:
SHON (fr)

Construction type
Brick masonry wall

External finish:

Internal finish:
Plastered (on hard)

Roof type:
Pitched roof





Typical urban house in a row from the end of 19th century in Belgian cities, in neoclassical style. The house is in a dense area, in a row with building of the same type in the street but it is not listed. Since 1888 no major renovation had been done resulting in a very bad general state. It is almost in its original condition
Urban context
the house is in a row with other buildings of the same type. It is located in a very dense urban area near by the city center. The north station is at 1.1km and it is surrounded by a lots of public transports (subway, tramway, bus)


The character of the house has to be preserve and its typical volume organization. The elements such as ceiling moldings (stucco ornamentation on the ceiling and on the top of the wall), the iron catch window, marble fireplaces and the wooden frame has to be conserved.
Heritage Value Assesment
The heritage values have been assessed based on 4 criteria defined by the Heritage department of Bruxelles-Capitale: Authenticity, Integrity, rarety and representativity and 11 interests. This house has Social interest: It is a typical middle-class house from the end of 18th beginning of 19th century which reflects the type of life of the bourgeoisie at this period. the esthetic/artistic interest is recflected in the decorated front façade, (balcony, blue stone used for the ground floor) and the stucco ornamentation (plaster mouldings on the ceiling and molded cornice marks at the top of the wall) . The architectural interest is the inside volume is organized in 3 zones: a main part including reception and living space (2/3) and secondary space for stairs, services and corridors (1/3) a very typical organization.

State of repair

Conditions of the envelope
The building is almost in its original condition. It is in very bad conservation state
Description of pre-intervention building services
In this house there is no ventilation system. The heating is base on the fuel system. it combines heating and hotwater

Aim of retrofit

Main goal: better insulation of the whole house but conserving the valuable heritage details using bio-based materials, 2nd goal: decreasing the energy consumption below 60 kWh/m².year
Stakeholders Involvement
Public sector
Bruxelles environnement
Avenue du Port 86C 3000 B-1000 Bruxelles
Energy Consultant
Rue de Fragnée 67A, 4000 Liège
Tools used
Was the renovation process done following a specific methodology? No
Energy calculation PHPP software
Hygrothermal assessment no
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) no


External Walls

Front facade

Rear Facade

Front facade

Front façade Inside: partial Internal insulation to keep the stucco ornamentations (moldings on the ceiling and moldings cornice marks)

In order to keep the aspect of the front façade the insulation is from the inside but to conserve the wall and stucco (ceiling and cornice moldings marks) the insulation was only partial with woodfiber panels.

U-value (pre-intervention) [W/m2K]: 0,0 W/m²K U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K]: 0,405 W/m²K
More Details
Original wall build-up
Plaster :
20 mm
Brick :
400 mm
Plaster :
20 mm
Retrofitted wall build-up
Plaster :
Brick :
400 mm
Insulation - wood fiber board:
76 mm
Dry-lining - Plasterboard:
10 mm
Rear Facade

Rear Facade: External insulation of the whole facade. Moreover, the window sills in natural stone have been replaced by fine aluminium plate which touch the insulation (XPS panels). the brick chimney have been destroyed above roof level.


U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K]: 0,297 W/m²K
More Details
Original wall build-up
Brick - Brick with lime mortar:
400 mm
Plaster - Plaster render inside and a layer or lime render between plaster and bricks:
20 mm
Retrofitted wall build-up
Other - Render based on siliconate SHK from quickmix :
Insulation - XPS with a thermal conductivity of 0.035 W/(mK):
100 mm
Brick - Construction bricks with lime mortar:
400 mm
Plaster :
20 mm


tradition oak frame window

tradition oak frame window

The windows were replaced with new wooden (oak) ones, almost identical, with the original shape

All windows (frame glazing) have been changed mostly with triple glazing.

Existing window U-value Glass [W/m2K]: 0,0 New window U-value Glass[W/m2K]: 0,8 Existing window U-value Frame [W/m2K]: 0,0 New window U-value Frame [W/m2K]: 1,6
More Details
Existing window type Casement window
Existing glazing type Single
Existing shading type NA
Approximate installation year 1888
New window type Casement window
New glazing type Triple
New shading type NA
New window solar factor g [-] 0,49

Other interventions





the pitched roof and flat roofs have been insulated

The bituminous coating of the flat roof has been replaced with new synthetic membrane

U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K] 0.228
More Details
Original roof build-up
Tiles - teracotta tiles:
200 mm
Other - wooden lath air layer:
400 mm
Retrofitted roof build-up
Tiles - terracotta tiles:
200 mm
Other - wood-fiber insulating boards (multiplex pannels) with a thermal conductivity of 0.044W/(mK):
22 mm
Other - dry lining: Cellulose flocking insulation ( wood structure) with a thermal conductivity of 0.039W/(mK):
180 mm
Other - smart vapour barrier (Intello Proclimat):
10 mm
Other - plaster pannels:
10 mm

The floor between the basement and the ground floor has been renovated, insulated as the the stair case from the basement to the ground floor

The wooden flooring has been conserved on the ground floor and the insulation has been done on the basement side. but unfortunately the arches ceiling in the basement has been hiden by the insulation

U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K] 0.191
More Details
Original groundfloor build-up
Other - wooden floor:
20 mm
Other - wooden floor:
20 mm
Other - arches made with bricks and stell beam:
100 mm
Other - limewash:
0 mm
Other - wooden floor :
150 mm
Retrofitted groundfloor build-up
Other - wooden flooring:
20 mm
Other - Bricks arches with steel beam:
1 mm
Insulation - Cellulose flocking insulation :
1800 mm
Floor joists - addition of wooden beam with smat waterproofing membrane:
1500 mm

A smart vapour barrier installed on the interior side of the pitched roof, Rear Façade and insulated part of the front façade covered with plaster guaranting wall airtightness, An airtight seal has been added at the entrance door and window frame. in between the basement and the ground floor a vapour barrier installed has been installed

Airtightness (post-intervention) [ach@50Pa] 3.12






New gas condensed boiler new ventilation system

most of the heater were conserved

More Details
New primary heating system New secondary heating system
New system type Condensing Stove
Fuel Gas Biomass
Distribuition system Radiators Air
Nominal power 3.5 à 17.2 kW kW kW

new overflow system

The overflow system involves a lots of ducts. Most of the time their are set inside the suspended ceiling. Because the stucco ornamentation should be conserved the ducts have been placed into the chimney pipe. the air is blown in the room from the lateral side of the chimney toward the external wall to decrease all condensation risk. the ventilation system has been place in the basement and the duct were insulated

More Details
Original roof build-up New ventilation system
Type ventilation system Centralized
Type flow regime Overflow
Heat recovery Yes
Humitidy recovery Yes
Nominal power kW
Electric power 0,0 kW
Control system

the fluid-circulation system passes through one serpentine in a tank of 300L


More Details
New DHW system
Type decentral boiler
Hot_water_tank Yes
With heat recovery Yes





Installation of 5,4 m² of thermal solar panel which powered the boiler


More Details
SolarThermal System
Type Flat collector
Collector area 5,4 m²
Elevation angle 37,0
Overall yearly production 0,0 kWh

wood stove


More Details
Biomass System
Storage size
Origin of biomass
Overall yearly production kWh

Energy Efficiency

Energy Performance
Energy performance certificate: U average = 0,70 W/m²K
Voluntary certificates: No
Energy Use
Primary Energy 16983 kWh/y
Consumption_estimation_After: 45 kWh/m2.y

Primary Energy
Consumption_estimation_Calculation_method: Steady state simulation (e.g. EPC, PHPP)
Consumption_estimation_After: 16983 kWh/y
Measured Parameters
Type_of_monitoring: Continuous


Financial Aspects

The owners have received subsidies for the total renovation. "energy premium and renovation premium" from government.

Investment Costs
Total investment costs
1175 euros/m² eurosexcluding VAT (per m2)
Amount includes: it includes all the construction (materials/landscaping/realization) and conception (5000euros excluding VAT) 100euros/m² have been subsided by brussels environnment

Cost of energy related interventions:
75000 euros excluding VAT (total)
Amount includes: it includes the interior and exterior insulation, the windows, the roofs (flat and pitched) the solarfocus boiler, the gas condensing boiler (Vitodens 300W), the ventilation (Aerosilent van Drexel und Weiss) and monitoring. This amount represents 1/3 of the total budget


Water Management

A rainwater storage has been installed in the garden

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