Public authorities: driver of sustainability

How can public authorities be the driver of sustainability in the Mediterranean? Discover more about this event organised by SOLARTYS cluster

Public authorities: driver of sustainability

Low-energy and energy-efficient buildings are becoming the standard for new buildings in the Mediterranean countries. Meanwhile, the potential for efficient renovation of existing buildings continues to be a focus of development. However, despite the innovations and technical solutions for sustainable building renovation that are continuously being tested, there is still a gap between designed models and real-world application.

Therefore, in order to response to those challenges that the event «Towards efficiency and sustainability in the Mediterranean: from universities to public buildings» was conceived. An open innovation event organised by SOLARTYS, Spanish Solar Energy Cluster, with the aim to accompany public authorities as driver of sustainability and energy efficiency. The event has brought more than 100 assistants, between experts, academics, scientists and administrators, to learn and explore innovative solutions for more sustainable buildings in the Mediterranean.

Med-EcoSuRe project: Mediterranean University as Catalyst for Eco-Sustainable Renovation

To counter this, during the last four years, Med-EcoSuRe project had focused its activities to assess and implement innovative and sustainable energy renovation solutions for Mediterranean universities and to introduce an active collaborative approach to decision support. To this end, the project has brought together researchers and stakeholders from Tunisia, Palestine, Italy and Spain to build a common understanding of sustainable building renovation issues to lead the energy transition of public and private buildings.

In this sense, during the event «Towards efficiency and sustainability in the Mediterranean: from universities to public buildings», the different members of the consortium has presented the solutions implemented in the framework of the project: main achievements, pilot actions and strategic plan for the retrofitting of university buildings, that can be replicated for public authorities as driver for sustainability.

In particular, Ines Khalifa and Souha Ferchichi (both from the Mediterranean Renewable Energy Centre – MEDREC) has presented the main achievements of Med-EcoSuRe project: the cross-border living lab, the tool box developed, and the guidelines that will disseminate the results. In addition, Chiheb Bouden presented the pilot projects carried out in Tunisia for the retrofitting of university buildings at the National Engineering School of Tunis. Gisella Calcagno and Antonella Trombadore focused their presentation on the project toolkit and the pilot actions carried out at the University of Florence, and Antonella Violano on the strategic plans pilot undertaken at the University Luigi Vanvitelli of Campania. As part of the project, José Luis Molina’s team at the University of Seville has developed a useful decision support tool for the design and planning of the renovation process. Finally, Imad Ibrik presented the pilots and retrofitting actions implemented at the An-Najah National University in Palestine.

Conclusively, in order to understand the future of cooperation in the Mediterranean, Fabrizio Paloni (Coordinator of the Joint Technical Secretariat of the ENI CBC Med Programme) spoke about the future Interreg NEXT MED and the opportunities offered by this new programme.

Open reflection and debate to help in the energy transition of the public sector

Based on the results of Med-EcoSuRe project and its extrapolation to other public and private buildings, the second part of the conference focused on how public authorities should be the driver of sustainability, and to to help public bodies in their transition process towards sustainability and energy efficiency. To answer this question and address aspects such as decarbonisation, energy communities, self-consumption, renewable energies, among other subjects, two round tables were held with the idea of opening a dialogue between the speakers and the audience.

How to promote decarbonisation in the public sector

To promote decarbonisation in the public sector, initiatives must be taken to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies, while policies must be implemented that prioritise sustainable practices and reduce carbon emissions in government operations. Moderated by Jordi Ortiz (Director General of SOLARTYS), this round table has brought together actors from different backgrounds to discuss future scenarios.

  • Estanislau Vidal-Folch (Member State Expert of the Working Group on High Quality Architecture and Built Environment for All at the Council of the European Union)
  • Chiheb Bouden (Professor at the National Engineering School of Tunis and former Tunisian Minister for Higher Education)
  • Itziar González Virós (expert architect in rehabilitation and citizen cooperation, consultant in social architecture and ex-councillor of Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona)
  • Marc Montlleó (Director of Environmental Projects and Energy Efficiency at Barcelona Regional)
  • Michael Donaldson (Commissioner for Urban Innovation of the City Council of Barcelona)


Energy communities and the role of public authorities

The future of energy communities seems promising as they empower people and territories to take control of their energy production, consumption, and distribution, thereby promoting sustainability, resilience and community participation. Through decentralised renewable energy systems and collaborative initiatives, under the moderation of Federico Mirenzi (Energy Communities Commercial Engineer at Senda Sostenible), the panel has discussed how energy communities are poised to play an important role in shaping a cleaner and fairer energy future.

  • Maurizio De Lucia (Energy Engineer and Professor at University of Florence)
  • Raquel Simón Allué (Doctor of Mechanical Engineering in RDD at Endef Solar Solutions)
  • Jaafar Saeid (CEO of the company Lightency for blockchain energy community management solutions)
  • Anna Camp Casanovas (Energy and Climate Coordinator at the Province Council of Girona)

Fostering collaboration between public and private sector to identify challenges, open opportunities and innovative solutions

How can public and private actors be encouraged to exchange knowledge and innovative solutions? With this end, the third part of the event focused on a dynamic and interactive session of presentation of solutions in the field of energy efficiency and sustainability, such as tools and implementation of technical and technological solutions, solar power generation, smart lighting, improved thermal and acoustic insulation, installation of various sensors, data processing, among others, all solutions easily applicable to public buildings.

The solutions presented are the result of the different members of SOLARTYS community as well as Secartys ecosystem.

Technical visit: A practical case of historic building refurbishment and central heating and cooling

Renovating a historic building and adapting it to new uses is a challenge. Twenty years ago, the Poblenou campus of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra was born on the site of the old 19th century factory Ca l’Aranyó. Toni Vilanova (from the architectural firm Vilanova+Moya) explained the process carried out and its interconnection with the central heating and cooling network of the Poblenou district.

«Towards efficiency and sustainability in the Mediterranean: from universities to public buildings» is an event organised for public authorities as driver of sustainability, by SOLARTYS, Spanish Solar Energy Cluster,  with the support of Mediterranean Renewable Energy Centre – MEDREC, Smartech Cluster and Secartys, under the project Med-EcoSuRe: Mediterranean University as Catalyst for Eco-Sustainable Renovation, funded by the ENI CBC Med Programme.