Business parks can provide a sustainability boost

By making less than a tenth of the industrial sites in the Netherlands energy-positive in the coming decade, a substantial part of what has been agreed in the Climate Agreement for the built environment can be realised. Business parks do not attract a lot of attention in the Energy Transition, but have a promising potential for environmental gains.

Source: Gemeente Zaltbommel

TNO is working with partners in Stichting BE+ with the aim of making 250 business parks energy-positive in the first instance. 35 business parks have joined up. BE+ supports collectives of entrepreneurs with practical advice, quick scans, collective financing and organises regular meetings where they exchange experiences and shape joint initiatives.

Enormous potential

The potential is enormous. Our country has some 3,500 business parks, 250 of which BE+ wants to grab by the horns in the coming years. An RVO study shows that in 2017 0.21 PJ of energy is used at an average business park. Making 250 business parks energy neutral would save 5,000 megatons of CO2. Taking all the parks together and subtracting the heavy industry (all MJA/MEE companies), then the CO2 saving is 2,100 megatons. In addition, some 2,500 jobs will be created in the building and installation sector to adapt energy installations and infrastructure.

Clear overview of possibilities

BE+ meets a need because many entrepreneurs lack knowledge and well measured plans. Nor do they realise how much energy, and therefore costs, they can save if they join forces with colleagues. TNO has developed a tool that shows entrepreneurs exactly what they can do in their situation to reduce energy consumption and what the benefits are. They do not have to provide data themselves because the tool collects data from sources such as municipalities, the CBS (Statistics Netherlands) and grid operators. This concerns type of business, building, age, consumption, energy infrastructure and more, which are combined and deciphered in a clear overview. This provides detailed insight into the potential for savings and how these can be achieved. The entrepreneurs generally recoup the investment within fifteen years.

Technical and financial support

Entrepreneurs have the freedom to decide for themselves what the measures will look like. BE+ helps park managers to put together a package that relieves them of all the technical and financial pressures. To this end, a quick start guide has been produced and training courses have been developed for park managers to enable them to provide effective motivation and guidance to their entrepreneurs. Furthermore, TNO is helping BE+ to develop an approach to collectively finance the measures, so that entrepreneurs do not have to invest themselves but pay a lower monthly amount from day one than they had previously spent on energy. From the professioanl organisation that is created other opportunities can be seized. For example there are opportunities at business parks for the realisation of a 'smart grid' that is managed by the entrepreneurs themselves and that makes it possible to trade energy between themselves via a Local Energy Management Platform (LEM). This will also make it possible to cope with peaks in electricity production and consumption in the long term.

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