Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Belgium leads the EU when it comes to installing solar panels, and an upcoming trade fair will showcase opportunities in energy efficiency and sustainable construction methods.

Not only is Wisconsin a global hub for  energy, power and control – uniquely leveraging market-leading industrial capabilities, advanced academic research and specialized institutions – but it is especially progressive in the field of solar energy. More than 140 solar companies in Wisconsin are helping to create and implement new solar energy technologies. Being a national hub for solar thermal companies creates direct opportunities in Belgium, which leads the EU when it comes to installing solar panels.

Moreover, the Belgian government has implemented the “energieprestatiecertificaat,” which is a certificate that informs owners and potential buyers and renters about the energy performance of residences. This motivates homeowners to conduct energy-saving renovations, as such a certificate is obligatory when selling a residence. This constitutes another opportunity in Wallonia: 22 percent of the construction material is being produced in an alternative, sustainable manner, constituting an opportunity for Wisconsin companies that have the technologies to produce these materials.

The Energie & Habitat fair in Belgium, taking place Oct. 20-23, 2016, is focused on energy efficiency and sustainable construction. Wisconsin companies in the sector are encouraged to attend and explore opportunities. In particular, the EcoConstruction and CAP2020 sustainable construction tracks at the trade fair offer opportunities given the subsidies that exist for ecological and sustainable construction methods and materials.