The city of Ghent has set itself the target of becoming climate neutral in 2050. Businesses are an important partner in reaching these targets. As part of the INTERREG project Answers to the Carbon Economy (ACE) , the municipality carries out energy audits, formulates action plans and helps companies to structurally monitor their savings. The first SMEs have completed the project with the first results showing reductions between 10 and 20 percent.
Businesses do not always follow up energy audits with real saving measures. Saving energy is not our core businesses, companies sometimes tend to think. However, they often underestimate the merits of investments in energy savings. For this reason, the city of Ghent supports SMEs with guidance that goes further than only an audit.
The project Trajectbegeleiding Energiemanagement calculates potential profits from energy savings and couples them to their payback time. The following step is the formulation of an action plan with recommendations. For the fourteen businesses, over hundred recommendations have been made, involving insulation, heat recovery, steam, compressed air and adding hibernation mode. The action plans are being reinforced with the structural monitoring of energy savings with the help of special software. This also functions as a stepping stone for those SMEs that wish to obtain the ISO 50001 certificate on energy management.
The project focuses on investments as much as on behavioural change, monitoring, maintenance and guidance. The city of Ghent estimates that basic measures can easily achieve reductions of 10 percent, while larger investments can even attain savings of 20 percent or more.
Through a charter the companies commit themselves to making significant CO2 savings before 2020. One year after the launch of the project, the companies are enthusiastic.
Steven Page, environmental coordinator of Benteler Automotive:
‘We are already excited about how the project plans have been carried out. With the installation of the temperature data loggers we have gained a better understanding of the management of the aerotherms in our warehouses. We promote the project to our parent company in Germany, which is curious about the outcome.’
Bjorn De Smet, Brose:
Brose thanks the City of Ghent for its support in reducing the energy consumption in our company. The audit has identified fifteen recommendations, including thirteen quick wins. All together these accounted for a yearly reduction of 33.31 tonnes of CO2 emissions savings of EUR 9.000 per year.’
Bart Verstuyft, Milliken Europe:
‘The energy audits were profound and revealed many interesting opportunities. We came across aspects that we overlooked in previous audits or that we simply didn’t think of. We are surely going to implement the quick wins that were identified. These are very simple things that can save use (tens of) thousands of euros a year.’
Trajectbegeleiding Energiemanagement is part of the INTERREG project Answers to the Carbon Economy (ACE). The participating businesses are Milliken, Marlux, United Petfood, Victor Buyck, Vyncolit, Graphius, Chevron, Centexbel, Bio Base Europe Pilote Plant, Marlux, Louis Dreyfus Commodities en SAS Automotive.
An evaluation of the project is due in May, including an inventory of the saving measures that have been implemented. Project coordinator Bjorn de Grande of City of Ghent expects that the projects will be continued in a follow-up project.
More information (in Flemish)
Bjorn De Grande
+32 (0) 9 268 23 78