Back to homepage


THOREAQ (Testbed HOme Renovations, Energy solutions, and AirQuality) is a unique test infrastructure made possible with the support of ERDF React EU and the Flemish Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. THOREAQ consists of two identical test dwellings, a technical workspace and an outdoor test lab, and will be used to test, validate and demonstrate innovative renovation solutions, solutions for improving indoor air quality, the integration of energy systems in the built environment, and innovations in industrialized fabricated envelope components and automated construction methods in construction.

1-11-2021 - 31-12-2023
Running project

The first phase of construction works, completed in January 2024, included a technical workspace and two identical test dwellings with the morphology of houses.

Technical workspace

The technical workspace will host research and innovation related to the building envelope and automated construction methods. In the coming years, VITO and EnergyVille expect a lot of innovation in close cooperation with industry and research partners to improve products and processes in terms of sustainability, integration of new materials and techniques in building envelope components and in the field of automation and robotics.


Two identical test dwellings

The two identical test dwellings have been developed with the same construction, same orientation, and nearly identical sunlight, shading, rain and wind loads. They will be equipped with virtual occupants, which are devices that physically mimic human behavior. This allows identical occupant behavior to take place in the two buildings. Consequently, comparative AB tests are possible: you change one parameter in either dwelling and measure/determine exactly the effect/performance of that change.

Such a testing infrastructure of two identical, similar buildings is unique in Europe. The purpose of these test dwellings is to test and validate innovative solutions in terms of the building envelope, installations (HVAC and energy systems) and control systems for energy management. This in close cooperation with industry and research partners.

In the first phase, the demountable façade elements (three of the four façades/house) and demountable roofs were incorporated. The underlying concrete structure, equipped with anchor rails, on the ground floor and first floor allow any type of exterior façade (from interior to exterior finish) to be installed. The fixed tip gables and steel structure mounted between them ensure that the pitched roofs can be easily replaced.


In a next phase (2024-2025), the test dwellings will be further equipped with redundant techniques, interior finishes, sensors, actuators and virtual occupants.

With the virtual occupants (output heat, humidity, CO2) and actuators (controlled windows, shower, stove,…) it will be possible to simulate occupancy from zero to five people. Both the HVAC and electrical systems will be provided so that research-related devices can be easily plugged in and monitored. To collect the necessary data, a comprehensive set of all kinds of sensors will be installed for each residence and connected to PLCs.

The test dwellings will be open to companies so they can test, optimize and demonstrate their innovative products and services full-scale and real-life in an admittedly safe and controlled environment. By bringing together various partners, we aim to promote interaction and develop and analyze multiple innovations, which can lead to optimized total solutions combining various services and technical systems.

Outdoor test lab

In a final phase, another outdoor site lab is planned where the focus will be on testing automated construction methods in construction.


Interested in testing your products within the THOREAQ environment? Or would you like to visit us for an exploratory discussion about the possibilities of the THOREAQ facilities? Then feel free to contact Margo Colson, THOREAQ project manager.

The role of EnergyVille

The project will be realized by VITO/EnergyVille, and is part of the Open Thor Living Lab infrastructure at Thor Park in Genk, a science and business park where the energy transition, smart manufacturing and smart city applications take centre stage. In addition to its unique ecosystem, Thor Park is the first (and so far only) regulation-free energy innovation zone in Belgium with a focus on innovative market forces for energy communities,

This project was supported by: