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The SPP Regions project has launched its website – www.sppregions.eu – to showcase the creation and the strengthening of networks of public authorities on sustainable and innovative procurement in seven European regions. The networks in Barcelona (Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat), South West England (PIPEN), Bulgaria (Bulgarian SPPI Network), Copenhagen, Torino (APE), Metropolitan Region Rotterdam – The Hague and West France (RGO) will co-operate directly on tendering for eco-innovative solutions and build capacities on the implementation of sustainable and innovative purchasing practices. The seven regional SPP networks will publish a total of 42 eco-innovative tenders focused on energy use in public buildings, vehicles and transport, and food and catering services. The goal is to achieve 54.3 GWh/year of primary energy savings and trigger 45 GWh/year of renewable energy.

By becoming early adopters of new eco-innovative solutions and technologies, local public bodies can bridge the gap between supply and demand of these products and services, and bring economic, social and environmental benefits to their cities. SPP and PPI can trigger employment creation, boost the establishment of SMEs, reduce water and energy consumption, decrease GHG emissions, encourage more efficient use of natural resources, and contribute to the improvement of air quality. Regional networks can help increase the capacity of public bodies for SPP and PPI, and send a stronger signal of demand for sustainability to suppliers.

In addition, the project aims at increasing the capacities and skills on energy issues of 460 market stakeholders. In-depth research will be conducted into European good practice relating to a series of key SPP and PPI topics such as market engagement, life cycle costing, output or performance-based specifications, and circular procurement. These resources will be made available from the project website.

Given the importance of replicating the SPP Regions initiative, the participating regions and the expert partners will identify another 10 regions that may be interested in developing their own network.

The SPP Regions project is coordinated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, in partnership with the Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale del Piemonte (Italy), Diputació de Barcelona, Réseau Grand Ouest commande publique et dévelopement durable (France), City of Rotterdam, Città Metropolitana di Torino, Bristol City Council, Gabrovo Municipality, EcoEnergy (Bulgaria), The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, University of West of England (Bristol), The Capital Region of Denmark, and Ecoinstitut SCCL (Barcelona). The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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Copyright EESI2020

The Siemens Building Technologies Division has won the 2015 European Energy Service Award (EESA) in the Projects category for its implementation of an Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) project in the Polish city of Sosnowiec. This project focused on the heating systems and energy management in 87 public schools and preschools in this industrial city in the Silesia region. All heating and lighting systems in the buildings were modernized from the ground up in a period of just ten months. In addition, the Advantage Navigator energy monitoring system was installed to remotely monitor overall energy consumption.

The system allows personnel to remotely control the room temperature in every classroom and set it to the desired target value. “In the past, classrooms were typically kept too hot, which made it difficult for students to concentrate. Thanks to the state-of-the-art heating system and continuous energy monitoring we are now able to provide a comfortable learning environment for students,” says Marek Tobiacelli of Siemens Poland.

At the same time, Siemens has guaranteed heating cost savings of approximately 31 percent, electricity savings for lighting of 21 percent and a reduction of CO2 emissions by 5,220 t/year compared to the initial situation. The measures are financed through an Energy Performance Contract with Siemens. This means that the city of Sosnowiec’s initial investments of approximately 4 million euros will be paid back through the guaranteed savings realized over the ten-year contract period; interim financing is provided by Siemens.

The impressive energy and cost savings for the city as well the positive impact on the environment are a big win in and of themselves. However, the results achieved also benefit students and teachers who are now able to learn and work in classrooms offering a comfortable temperature – and hence a healthier environment.

The European Energy Service Award (EESA) is part of the European Energy Service Initiative toward the EU 2020 Energy Saving Targets (EESI 2020). This initiative aims at fostering the use of Energy Performance Contracting in Europe. The EESA honors outstanding efforts and achievements in the field of energy services in Europe. This year’s award ceremony will be held in Brussels.

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Through the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism (MINETUR) manages around €1.4bn in funding allocated to ten energy saving and efficiency programmes covering every energy-consuming sector: construction, industry, transport and city halls. The programmes have been in force since last May, financed by the National Energy Efficiency Fund, the General State Budgets 2015 and ERDF Funds 2014-2020.

Energy refurbishment of buildings

The PAREER-CRECE programme which is geared towards the energy refurbishment of buildings and has a provision of €200m has already reserved 50% of its budget.

Funding for this programme – whose activities are aimed to improve at least the level of energy certification of the buildings adhered to the programme – is a minimum of 20%-30% of the eligible investment with further amounts possible depending on social criteria. This financial aid can also run alongside a repayable loan of up to 90% of the investment at Euribor +0% over 12 years with one year’s grace period.

To date, 80% of the applicants have been residents’ associations with the measure most sought-after being the improvement in the thermal insulation of the façades with the aim of reducing heating costs.

Outdoor municipal lighting, businesses, modes of transport

Destined for the renovation of outdoor municipal lighting and with a provision of €36m, registered applications for the programme in October had exceeded the initially forecast annual budget with 38 projects, resulting in it being increased by €29m. Funding is awarded in the form of interest-free loans over 10 years, covering up to 100% of the required investment.

Applications made as at October to fund the 320 projects submitted by companies in the industrial sector have exceeded the initial annual budget set at €49m, allocated to improving the technology of equipment and processes as well as the implementation of energy management systems. The line of funding has also been increased by a further €66m. This financial aid comprises a maximum cash payment without consideration of 30% of the eligible investment.

As regards funding programmes for activities to change the mode and more efficient use of forms of transport, currently up to 54% of the €8m budget has been reserved. Financing is awarded as cash payments without consideration with the programme beneficiaries being both private and public entities.

Other programmes

Worth mention is that as a result of the National Energy Efficiency Fund 2015, MINETUR via the IDAE is scheduled to launch the following programmes before the end of the year:

  • Programmes for energy efficiency improvements to the railway systems with a provision of €13m.
  • Programme for energy efficiency improvement actions for the water cycle (desalination), with a provision of €12m.

Also financed by the 2014-2020 EDRF Funds, an official call will be announced to select one-off low carbon economy projects implemented by local entities within the framework of the Operational Programme for Sustainable Growth under Axis 4 in which the IDAE acts as an intermediary and which enjoys a total budget of €500m for the entire period.

More information on these lines of financial aid can be found on: http://www.controlastuenergia.gob.es

The value of communication

And lastly, on the basis that communication is essential to achieve the energy saving objectives, in July 2015, MINETUR launched an information and awareness campaign via the main Spanish media.

The campaign, with actor Antonio Resines as opinion leader, was very well-received by the audience, with many aspects scoring more than 8 out of 10 and achieving the accolade for the most watched ad on Antena 3 TV with over 2.5 million viewers.

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Consultants at Ecofys have recently carried out a study for EURIMA, the European Association of Insulation Manufacturers, to assess the role that energy efficient buildings can play in Europe’s future power system, as these buildings have the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency on the supply side.

The heating sector is currently expecting electrification due to the growth in electric heat pumps to supply heating (and cooling) to the EU’s building stock. This will require significant investments in electricity production capacities and a consequent strengthening of the grid. These investments could be reduced through energy efficiency measures that lead to a decrease in the energy demand of buildings. As such highly efficient buildings offer benefits to the power systems in two ways:

By reducing energy demand: this translates into a reduction of the system peak and a corresponding reduction in generation and grid infrastructure investments. Furthermore, it leads to a reduction in the amount of energy that needs to be generated and transmitted and ultimately to a reduction of the system’s operational costs and associated losses.

By providing the grid with increased flexibility: the flexibility of heat demand refers to the ability of heat pumps to change their operation without affecting temperature comfort levels inside the building. Typically, highly efficient buildings have a higher capacity to change heating operation over time, as a well-insulated building envelope can maintain the desired stable room temperature over a longer period, even when the heating system is turned off. This increased flexibility can translate into a reduction in the peak demand and to a reduction in system losses by reducing marginal losses.

The study reveals (comparing the situation in 2050 with a high efficiency scenario to that of a low efficiency scenario) that a highly energy efficient building stock, via a reduction in the peak loads of electric heat pumps and the ability to change heating demand over time (as highly efficient building envelopes can keep the desired room temperature stable for a longer period when the energy supply is interrupted), has the capacity to significantly reduce the necessary peak capacities and avoid distribution losses.

The reduction in peak load from the reduced electricity demand for electric heat pumps due to energy efficient buildings is 57 GW. This matches the current total electricity production capacity (renewable and non-renewable) of Austria and the Netherlands combined. The impact of energy efficiency on the flexibility of the power systems leads to an additional reduction in peak load of the EU’s power system of around 12 GW. This is a lower limit of impact, as in practice grid operators have to balance demand and supply not at EU level but at national/regional boundary level (with less options to balance), which translates into higher peak load savings from the gained flexibilities.

Moreover, the huge fluctuation of the growing share of renewable electricity production will further increase the need for flexibility on the demand side. In financial terms, the total CAPEX savings in 2050 could amount to €73bn (impact of the reduced electricity demand for electric heat pumps by high efficiency buildings) plus an additional €16bn (impact of the increased flexibility of running heat pumps in highly efficient buildings) resulting in a total CAPEX reduction of €89bn in 2050 (and up to €153bn if more national/regional limits are taken into account).

As a consequence, highly energy efficient buildings (both new and deep retrofit buildings) not only generate benefits at building level itself but can also deliver benefits at electricity system level, thus supporting a robust future energy system.

Buildings today are responsible for 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and have become a key challenge to achieve energy saving objectives. Public buildings have to set an example as they have a savings potential of up to 35%, maintaining the same degree of comfort. Thanks to EC-financed projects such as EPLACE and TEDS4BEE, the achievement of these savings will lead to a more efficient, sustainable and cleaner Europe to the benefit of all.

Energy efficiency has been one of the key commitments for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. A number of European directives and national policies have been published that aim to achieve three goals: a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; achieving 20% production from renewable sources; and increasing energy efficiency by 20%. These targets could become more ambitious for the 2030 horizon, setting threshold objectives of almost 30%.

The 2012 Directive on energy efficiency (2012/27/EU) and the Directive on the energy performance of buildings (2010/31/EU) place emphasis on the example to be set by the public sector and encourage each Member State to establish more ambitious objectives for buildings occupied by public authorities. Spain has an electricity consumption saving and efficiency plan – Horizon 20151 and a more general savings and energy efficiency action plan for 2011-2020. Read more…

EPLACE and TEDS4BEE projects communication team

Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2015

The CITyFiED project, RepliCable and InnovaTive Future Efficient Districts and cities, is developing a strategy to transform European cities and districts into more efficient urban areas, smart cities, ensuring that its implementation is compatible with the criteria of environmental, economic and social sustainability. The proposed measures include the refurbishment of façades, the installation of district-heating systems based on renewable energy sources, the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and smart grids.

Construction is one of the main sectors responsible for energy consumption in many countries. In fact, there are around 160 million buildings in the whole of the European Union, whose energy consumption represents almost 40% of the total in Europe and accounts for around 36% of CO2 emissions1. With the aim of alleviating this situation, the European Commission, as part of the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, has identified Energy Efficiency in buildings as a key priority.

The objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy: 20% energy savings, 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 20% increase in the use of renewable energy sources reinforce this priority.

Article published in: FuturENERGY November-December 2014

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