Volvo Trucks Ghent

Ghent, Belgium

Introducing the world’s first CO₂-neutral automotive plant!


The world’s largest Volvo Trucks plant is located in Ghent, Belgium. The factory produces more than 40,000 trucks annually. By installing PV systems, 3 wind turbines, sustainable heating systems and building a passive house, the factory became the world’s first CO₂-neutral automotive plant.

Saving energy was the main driver to start replacing lighting with LED lighting in 2017. Since 2019, Helvar Partner, Lighting Controls BVBA, have been working closely with Rudy Van Leeuwen, Real Estate Manager Electrical Installations Volvo Trucks, to equip the Volvo Trucks production site with a DALI lighting management system.

Rudy Van Leeuwen: “We are not looking for suppliers but for partners who think along with our philosophy. With our partners, we build a long-term relationship so that we stay abreast of all the new technologies being developed.”

The main reasons for Volvo Trucks to choose a Helvar lighting management system were its energy-saving capabilities, data collection and flexibility. Applying time controls and sensors ensures optimal energy efficiency. Helvar 329 light sensors measure the amount of daylight and, based on this, the light strength in the halls is kept constant.

The luminaires are fitted with DALI-2 drivers to keep track of energy consumption. These drivers have data storage that can be read out via the Helvar Insights platform. The burning hours can also be analysed. By dimming back the lighting and implementing daylight control, the burning hours are significantly extended, which provides major cost savings and reduces the sites carbon footprint.

Besides energy savings, flexibility was also an important factor in choosing a Helvar lighting management system. The system can be modified at any time and new functionalities can be added at any time. This ensures that the system remains optimal and adjustable – both today, and in the future.

The production areas are equipped with Tunable White lighting, which Lighting Controls BV control with a dynamic Light over Time (LoT) cycle. KU Leuven’s Light & Lighting Laboratory, together with Groen Licht Vlaanderen and in collaboration with Zumtobel, conducted research into the effect of biodynamic lighting on employees’ wellbeing. This involved testing three different types of lighting. Standard LED with a fixed light colour, Tunable White lighting and Human Centric Lighting with more than 1,000 lux vertically. The study showed that Human Centric Lighting has a positive effect in a production environment. After analysing the results, Volvo Trucks chose to implement Tunable White in the entire factory wherever possible. With this, the lighting supports the workers’ biorhythms throughout the day.

Volvo has far-reaching ambitions for the future. Rudy Van Leeuwen: “Thanks to the close cooperation between Volvo and various departments within Helvar, we are thinking carefully about developments for the future. We run several pilots where we test new functionalities in practice. Their findings are taken into account in developments and applied within our system.”

Volvo Group Real Estate won the 2023 DALI Lighting Awards in the Industry category for this innovative take on human-centric and sustainble lighting design.

Key facts

Project completed: 2023
Project location: Gent, Belgium
 Local Helvar Partner: Lighting Controls BVBA
Ghent, Belgium
Thanks to the close cooperation between Volvo and various departments within Helvar, we are thinking carefully about developments for the future.

Rudy Van Leeuwen

Real Estate Manager Electrical Installations, Volvo Trucks