【ES】Experts highlight at C&R 2021 the importance of decarbonisation of buildings to meet sustainability goals

Building is responsible for 30% of global energy consumption and 40% of carbon emissions

New air conditioning and refrigeration technologies must contribute effectively to the decarbonization objectives of the European Union for 2050 The meeting has been held at the C&R Forum, within the framework of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Show, which is held from November 16 to 19 at IFEMA MADRID

The new technologies of air conditioning and refrigeration must contribute effectively to the decarbonization of buildings, as stated this morning by the experts participating in the first technical conference of the C&R Forum, developed within the framework of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Show, C&R 2021,which is held from November 16 to 19 at IFEMA MADRID . As they have warned, the building is responsible for 30% of global energy consumption and 40% of carbon emissions in our country, so the reduction of these parameters plays an important role in achieving the objectives of energy sustainability and decarbonization planned by the European Union and Spain for 2030 and 2050.

The meeting, “Towards the decarbonization of buildings”, has been coordinated by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers), with the collaboration of ACTECIR (Catalan Association of Technicians in Energy, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration), DAIKIN, Aedici (Spanish Association of Engineering and Engineering Consultants of Facilities), Energy Foundation, AFEC (Association of Manufacturers of Air Conditioning Equipment), Fegeca (Association of Manufacturers of Generators and Heat Emitters) and Atecyr (Spanish Technical Association of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration).

The moderator, Jesús de Lara, president of ASHRAE Spain, said that “the dearbonization of buildings is a fact towards which we must necessarily tend” and, then, has raised various issues such as the challenges faced by this process, the figure of the engineer-consultant, the rehabilitation of existing buildings, the electrification of the sector and renewable energies.



The heat pump

Andrés Sepúlveda, president of ASHRAE in Europe, recalled that “in 2050 we have to achieve carbon neutrality”, and pointed out that at the moment the building is responsible for 30% of global energy consumption and 40% of carbon emissions. In addition, of this last percentage, “10% corresponds to construction materials and processes”. Thus, in this context, he pointed out that “we have to reduce the emissions of operational carbon, which is what the building consumes to function, and those of the incorporated, integrated into the construction materials”. Among the solutions, he cited the reduction of fossil fuels, electrification and systems such as the heat pump, which will play a crucial role in achieving decarbonization goals.

Fernando Valladares, president of AEDICI, has valued the contribution of the consulting engineer to the decarbonization of buildings, “a figure that has a very important role to reduce operational carbon”. And he has exposed some relevant actions to achieve the reduction of emissions, among them “the reduction of demand” and the renewal of energy, with “a clear control and an integration of renewables”. Valladares also stated that “the consulting engineer has a lot to contribute in the field of facilities” and has also highlighted the importance of “digitalization” to improve the operation of the systems.

Pedro Ruiz Romero, head of the Department of Studies and Legislation of AFEC, has also highlighted the important role of heat pumps “in the decarbonization of buildings and, in turn, in the improvement of indoor air quality”. And he has stated that “they reduce BETWEEN 70% and 80% CO2 emissions”. As he indicated, “it is not a technology of the future, but it already has more than 50 years”; and is also able to eliminate other harmful gases. In addition, he also referred to the importance of ventilation and regulation in the sustainability process.

Pedro García Gómez, head of the Energy and Renewables Division of ACTECIR, explained the actions that this association is taking to contribute to the decarbonization of buildings. Among other issues, he highlighted the “training courses on how to make facilities more efficient”. On the other hand, he has shown “our great commitment to the use of natural refrigerants”, an area in which they are also carrying out training courses. “In addition, we have collaboration agreements with various institutions and we transfer all the necessary information to our partners and related groups.”

Renewable gases

Manuel Ruiz, member of the Technical Commission of FEGECA, has focused on renewable gases as a source of clean energy for buildings and explained the different processes through which we can contribute to decarbonization. Thus, he pointed out that among them is electrification, but also the use of other systems and renewable gases such as biogas and biomethane, “which are proven, already coexist with us and, in addition, can generate circular economy”. He also referred to green hydrogen, produced by renewable energy.

David Díaz, Heating & Product Manager of DAIKIN, has commented on a study of new refrigerant gases applied to the heat pump, replacing other technologies. And he has pointed out that “the environmental impact of a well-maintained heat pump is practically zero”. In addition, he has indicated that “we are at a crossroads”, in which there are “different types of refrigerants that are better suited to each of the systems”. In this sense, he said that “we see a multi-refrigerating future, in which the refrigerant will diversify and we will use the most appropriate to each situation”. On the other hand, he has advanced that “manufacturers are already working on the carbon footprint of the products”.

Iván Vaquero, head of the Technical Unit of the Energy Foundation of the Community of Madrid, explained FENERCOM’s current plans for the decarbonization of buildings. And he detailed that the existence of European funds in the last two or three years has made it possible “that we are managing more than 200 million euros in aid programs aimed at the decarbonization of buildings.” In addition, it has announced a new self-consumption program, with about 90 million euros in 3 years, and another medium-term plan, with 160 million euros for the rehabilitation of buildings in the neighborhoods. As he said, “all these actions will be a turning point” in this process.

Finally, Álvaro Pastor, secretary of the Board of Directors of Atecyr, explained the vision of this association with respect to the long-term strategy for energy rehabilitation in the building sector in Spain and decarbonization. “We have actively worked to develop the roadmap to 2050,” which goes through electrification and the completion of fossil fuels. And “we have made reports with recommendations for the decarbonization of buildings, observing the different casuistries, which are many.” As he pointed out, “we understand that we must meet these objectives with reasonable measures and transfer to the sector the generation of the knowledge we have and maintain the most reliable and rigorous information about the regulatory changes that will affect us in the next 30 years.”


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