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Woluwe-Saint-Pierre measures home energy efficiency - with a noisy plane

09:44 20/01/2023

The Brussels municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is looking at how to cut back on emissions by taking stock of its current housing situation.

But the method chosen for measuring energy efficiency of homes in the neighbourhood may seem surprising considering that aim: the municipality had an aeroplane fly back and forth over Brussels from 22.00 and 1.00 at night to take thermal images of houses.

Numerous people reported seeing a plane circling over the neighbourhood during its flight, telling RTL that it was keeping their children awake.

“A Cessna plane has been circling for two hours,” one such person said, with another asking, “What is that plane circling over Brussels?”

The thermal images taken from the aeroplane should allow the municipality to measure the thermal loss of roofs in the neighbourhood.

The goal is to raise awareness about some of the issues surrounding insulation.

The municipality had warned local residents, asking them, among other things, “to heat their buildings exceptionally on the night the plane passes through, so that it can clearly observe the temperature differences and benefit from more relevant information”.

It is unclear whether future flights with the same intent are planned, and the emissions cost of such operations has not been communicated.

Written by Helen Lyons