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Start arrow Agenda arrow 22@Breakfast arrow Past Events arrow 22@Update Breakfast, October 2011
22@Update Breakfast, October 2011
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Smart Buildings in Smart Cities

Efficient energy use is a key element in promoting sustainability and reducing costs, both when constructing new buildings and when renovating older ones, as well as in business operations. Knowledge of the principles of energy efficiency and the application thereof are important for building a future containing economic and environmental safeguards. The goal is to improve the human experience, minimize the environmental impacts caused by uncontrolled energy consumption and maximize economic feasibility.

The October 22@Update Breakfast was held as part of the Barcelona Meeting Point  Real Estate Meeting, which took place at the Fira de Barcelona between October 20th and 24th, 2011. AENOR and LAVOLA , two businesses which serve as members of the 22@Network ’s Environment, Sustainability and Values Commission, participated in the event. David Beltrán, Sustainability Coordinator at AENOR, and Esteve Maneja, Head of the Engineering Department at LAVOLA, spoke about the regulations which apply to businesses in the field of sustainable energy. These experts underscored how an assessment of a company’s energy system can serve as an important and useful tool for businesses, not only in terms of savings and having a structured, systematic approach to energy efficiency, but also in terms of reducing one’s carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of climate change in general.

Teresa Batlle, the President of the 22@ Network’s Innovation Commission, opened the meeting, discussing the value of sustainability for businesses. The 22@Network community represents businesses which network, share experiences, and pursue a deep knowledge of sustainability and the meaning of energy management.

Reducing energy consumption, streamlining processes, and drafting business savings plans are essential

Seventy-one percent of the energy consumed in Spain comes from abroad. Consequently, according to Beltrán, it is essential to decrease energy consumption, streamlining processes and drafting business savings plans. In the field of energy, we face three major challenges: competition related to decreasing energy intensity, climate change and security of supply.

The Spanish Energy Efficiency Strategy was created in 2003 in Spain and has led to various action plans and the Sustainable Economy Law, which promotes energy efficiency and savings. The law allows autonomous regions to manage their own energy efficiency, even allowing them to positively discriminate in favor of businesses which promote renewable energy. AENOR published the UNE 216501 Energy Audit Standard, which aims to achieve reliable knowledge of energy consumption and assess savings and energy diversification opportunities. The UNE 216501 standard represents a starting point for establishing an Energy Management System as per ISO standard 50001 or for maintaining and improving already established energy management systems. AENOR has issued 74 certificates in accordance with ISO 50001 to businesses in various sectors, from large consumers to SMEs to buildings to services.

As Beltrán explained, implementing an ISO standard requires identifying organizational weaknesses and planning energy use efforts. Business must recycle, define their opportunities and goals, and put in place measures and resources. However, as Beltrán pointed out, it is also necessary to demonstrate results. The problem in the construction industry is related to the lack of energy reviews, and data for the future is also not available. Nevertheless, as Beltrán noted, at present it is easier than before to teach stakeholders that energy is an asset we must care for.

AENOR is known for its building energy audits. Beltrán, its Sustainability Coordinator, pointed out differences in sustainability based on the industry for which buildings are constructed. “A hospital is not the same as a hotel,” he said. In his experience, energy sustainability efforts in hospital buildings have saved up to 25 to 35%.

Is all of the energy we consume essential?

Esteve Maneja, Head of Engineering and Energy for LAVOLA, explained the tools and steps which must be implemented in order to achieve good levels of energy efficiency. Since 1983, LAVOLA has assisted clients in finding responsible solutions for achieving financial, social, and environmental sustainability. Maneja stated that the company has carried out more than 3,000 audits and has made clients aware of risks and external financing opportunities.

LAVOLA works on installation, construction, social renovation, and certification projects, and its goals include reducing energy consumption and costs. For the company, a financial profitability study must always be carried out first. As Maneja explained, the first step in any new project is determining where energy is being consumed. This assessment consists of researching current energy use, starting from bills and later highlighting critical points. Next, individual indicators must be set for each business and organizational costs must be determined. As Maneja pointed out, in addition to stating goals for improvement and crafting a package of good energy practices, every organization must also consider whether it is necessary to consume all of the energy it does.

Maneja further explained that energy efficiency involves bearing in mind critical points of buildings and implementing good practices in the proper operation of windows, doors, heating, and air conditioning. All devices must be inspected and energy labeling systems must be respected. Maneja also pointed out the importance of using more efficient lighting systems and of paying special attention to business office appliances, which currently are surpassing lighting systems in terms of energy consumption. However, in this regard Maneja expressed optimism given the fact that new technology that is manufactured bears in mind energy sustainability.

Maneja also pointed out that industry-specific technology exists and that future trends will support the use of renewable energies. “We’re talking about going back to burning wood, which is a zero emissions fuel,” he said. Other renewables include wind and geothermal energy, which takes advantage of the heat below the Earth’s surface.

But how can we know what we can implement in our own businesses? First, carry out an audit and energy inventory, and then, assess and make plans with regard to viable economic measures. This assessment is based on economic factors. LAVOLA recommends creating a highly functional action plan which includes a calendar and asking for client help in obtaining grants. Maneja also noted that the company not only asks its clients to save but also helps them to check on their savings. He explained that the company has already carried out 3,600 audits and has successfully recouped investments in 5 years of savings.

Teresa Batlle concluded the conference, reiterating that sustainability should not be an empty word, but rather that it refers to a very clear situation in which our resources are limited and we need to live in harmony with them.

Josep M. Piqué from the Barcelona City Council reported on some activities which will take place this November at 22@. These include the Fira de Barcelona Smart City Expo 2011 Barcelona : Environmental Technologies Trade Show which will take place from November 29th through December 2nd in Barcelona. Piqué reaffirmed that 22@ will continue to work to promote innovation.

AENOR Conference
AVOLA Conference

Key ideas

-Businesses should know how energy schedules work and how they affect us when it comes to saving. The current energy culture is very limited in comparison to the culture of our parents’ generation. Ideas on daily energy use must be revisited, strengthening knowledge of different ways of saving.

-Control mechanisms can be used in different parts of buildings, such as elevators, ventilation, and windows. Transportation is one of the greatest potential energy savers in all departments and at all moments related to productivity in businesses.

We can save when suppliers transport materials, in logistics in our own businesses, and when sending a product to a customer’s home. Many tools exist to optimize daily costs.

-Energy efficiency is the primary tool for reducing greenhouse gases by 43% in the next 20 years.

In the words of participants

-I agree. Future trends will move towards the use of renewable energies as well as wind power. But not everyone agrees. In many places where wind power was discussed, people opposed wind farms because they suspected they might harm natural assets and the landscape. I suppose changing people’s perception of things will be a matter of time. 

-We should take advantage of the current crisis to resize businesses, putting more importance on saving energy, since this not only affects the economy but also the well-being and survival of the Earth.

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