- Innovation: “The Eco-Cottage, redeveloping an ancient technology”;
Traditionally, when you want to build a house, you first buy the land, then source the materials. But what if you could build the house with the materials you find on the site you already bought?
This is one of the aims of the “Eco-Cottage” technology development project of the ROSENC Cluster. The final objective of this work-group is to obtain a turn-key house (suitable also for other uses) that has a gross cost of EUR 25k for 100 square meters carpet area and 350 euros/year in energy costs, due to the high energy efficiency.
The partners are: BAGS Architecture Office (LP), Polytechnic University Timisoara – Constructions Faculty, INCERC Institute for Building Materials, Watt Visor Installations, Newradcons Constructions, AfiBanat motors and metalworks and many more.
As difficult as it was, the innovation process itself has offered professional satisfaction to all the parties involved as the experts had to find creative solutions to unforeseen problems almost everyday. Most of these solutions will remain trade secrets, but others have already been presented at inventions salons and scientific conventions.
After the development and establishment of the new technology, with no more than 70.000 Euros public financing, the group started to build the first experimental model. The partners have created a joint venture start-up, with the sole purpose to implement the “Eco-Cottage” technology.
As the end product is very easy to finance, we have already found a buyer for the experimental model and the house was only half way built.
The new start-up is now a new and innovative cluster member and has applied for Eur 200k financing for further R&D
- Sustainable development: “Energy Masterplan of Timis County, a participative development process”;
Timis County accounts for approximately ¼ of the total area of the West Region of Romania, where the ROSENC Cluster operates. In 2013-2014 the Energy Management Agency (AMET) has had the task of developing the Energy Masterplan of the Timis County, within an Intelligent Energy Europe project.
Since the beginning, AMET aimed for a participative development process, involving experts and stakeholders from the region. In this respect, the ROSENC Cluster has been the most important partner of AMET, as it had over 60 members (including universities and research institutes) with a considerable pool of expertize in renewables, energy efficiency and sustainability.
The most important aspect of this collaboration is the involvement of the business sector which has contributed greatly to establishing and confirming the feasibility of the Masterplan proposed actions.
The main actions refer to:
- energy efficiency in public lighting;
- development of biomass supply chains;
- modernizing public transport;
Within the elaboration process, the stakeholders provided market-ready input regarding available technology, financing schemes, capacities etc, which ensured the realism an feasibility of the proposed actions.
Thus, the Masterplan became a tactical instrument, corelating public policies and regional strategy with the pragmatic approach of the market, giving the latter a sense of direction and general advisory limits and ranges for maximum sustainability of the future development.
We consider that the development of the Energy Masterplan is a sustainable development process because all the proposed actions have responsible parties among the stakeholders in respect of technology supply, financing, capacities, management etc.
- Business development: “Energy Efficiency in street lighting”;
The ESCO system (Energy Service Companies use the energy savings to pay back the initial investment, while the client doesn’t have any costs but shares the savings) has entered the romanian energy efficiency market in the early 2000’s, but it became a buzzword in experts communities only after 2010.
The “lowest hanging fruit” of ESCO projects is in street lighting, where the idea is to change old and inefficient lighting fixtures with LEDs, obtaining in average 60% decrease in energy bill. The investment is minimal compared to the benefits, providing a 3-4 years payback period, considering only the savings in electricity. There are also savings in maintenance, but this is more variable.
The ROSENC Cluster promoted for over a year this kind of energy efficiency projects to municipalities and city halls, but they remained skeptical in respect to the process and benefits, despite the good practice examples that were presented.
Thus, ROSENC support organization changed the game by initiating the “ROSENC Programme for Energy Efficiency in Street Lighting - PREEI”, with a limited number of beneficiaries for the first year. This turned the promotion process (where the target audience can accept a proposal or not) into a competition (where the target audience races to gain an advatage). PREEI offered in fact consultancy for elaborating an opportunity study and organize a public tender in the ESCO system, which has exactly the same effects, but with the terms and conditions of the provider.
As a result of publishing the applicants guide for PREEI on the most common and specialized media, the municipalities raced incredibly to send one of the 10 winning applications of the first year. This experience created a multiple win-win situation:
- the municipalities became aware of the ESCO system via ATL channels, while 10 of them would receive extensive support in implementing the system for their public lighting infrastructure;
- the companies in the fields of production and installation of lighting fixtures and energy efficiency financing (ESCOa) found more business opportunities;
- the ROSENC Cluster gained unprecedented national and international visibility, thus creating an advantage for all the members, regardless of their field of activity.