Pioneering energy saving infrastructure and increased use of renewable energies at the facilities

15 December 2021
Colaboramos en un proyecto pionero de calefacción urbana en Euskadi

“We are working on an innovative urban heating project in the Basque Country”

The RELaTED initiative, introduced on the Basque police complex in Iurreta, distributes heat to district heating at an ultra low temperature.

This innovative infrastructure will enable energy to be saved and the use of renewable energies in the public sector to be extended, whereby it is a reference for similar solutions to be applied in other areas of the Basque Country.

The Vice-President and Regional Minister for Security, Josu Erkoreka, and the Regional Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia, visited the Basque police facilities in Iurreta (Bizkaia) to discover the results of the European RELaTED —Renewable Low Temperature District— research project, in which fourteen companies and institutions from eight European countries have participated.

The Basque Government has invested €813,630 in the launch of this project with the collaboration of the Basque Energy Agency, TECNALIA, Innometal, El Taller de Comunicación and NIBE, among others. It is a district heating that operates at an ultra low temperature and supplies hot water, as well as heating and cooling systems to the Basque police complex, which is made up of 14 buildings.

It is an innovative and pioneering project that will now be presented to companies of the sector and other entities to show that it can distribute heat to district heating at an ultra low temperature. This temperature, distributed at 35 degrees, offers advantages that had not been tested until now.

This project falls into the framework of one of the strategic lines of the Security Department for sustainability and energy efficiency. In 2022, €6.7 M were invested in the retrofitting, rehabilitation and improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings under the sustainability commitments of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Among the specific projects budgeted for the year, it is worth highlighting the extension of the district heating of the Berrozi facilities, the installation of photovoltaic infrastructures, charging points for electric vehicles, renewal of air conditioning systems and thermal insulation to save energy.

Energy efficiency and more renewables

The commissioning of this system will allow for energy savings and the increased use of renewable energies in these facilities and will help the Basque Government to fulfil the provisions set out in the Basque Sustainability Law. This regulation sets out that the Basque administrations should reduce energy consumption and foster and promote energy sustainability, protect the environment and the implementation of renewable energy facilities.

Use of renewable energies has increased by 350% in this case and the consumption of natural gas has been reduced. Electricity consumption has also decreased as the performance of the new heat pumps is much higher, between 50% and 60%, and CO2 emissions to the atmosphere have been reduced by 35 %. In economic terms, it is estimated that annual savings will be around €9,000.

The key: heat pumps

The use of heat pumps associated with the network is one of the keys of the project. They have been installed in each of the buildings integrated in the district heating. They are bi-directional and will enable the circuit to function as a heating system and a cooling system.

Heat pumps will increase the temperature of water in the distribution network from an ultra low temperature to the necessary thermal levels to heat offices or rooms. As they can be used reversibly, the heat pumps will enable the district heating to be used for the air conditioning of the facilities during those periods of the year when it is necessary to do so.