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01 June 2010

IREC participates as an expert representing Spain in a project on zero energy buildings conducted by the International Energy Agency

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The project will be led by Dr. Jaume Salon, group leader in thermal energy and building at IREC and one of the leading experts in Spain in the field of energy efficiency

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 – The Catalan Institute for Energy Research (IREC) is participating as a national expert representing Spain in the project "Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings" promoted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

One of the main objectives of the project is to work in an international collaborative context to study and develop net zero or nearly net zero energy buildings based on a harmonized international methodology. Moreover, it aims to conduct research in the design of technologically advanced buildings in order to apply innovative solutions and design tools. Lastly, the project seeks to strengthen the dissemination of and support for knowledge transfer, thus promoting energetically sustainable buildings in the national and international market.

According to Dr. Jaume Salón “The objective of achieving zero energy buildings is not utopian, as is shown by the existence of successful experiences, but it raises a series of technological and business-related issues that must be seen as a challenge and motivating factor for the building sector.”.

In addition, IREC has recently been accepted as a new member of the Energy Efficient Buildings Association E2B. One of E2B's goals is to create in Europe a favorable environment in education, development and innovation in the area of energy efficiency in buildings.

The E2B Association, based in Brussels, was created by nine founding members (Acciona, Arup, Bouygues, D’apollonia, EDF, Mostostal, Philips, Saint-Gobain and Stiebel Eltron) and has been in operation since January 2009. It is an association open to all organizations interested in energy efficiency applied to research in buildings.

(*) A net zero energy buildingor a nearly net zero energy building is a building with a high level of energy efficiency where the amount of energy required must be covered by energy from renewable sources.

Global energy use concentrates 40% of consumption in buildings. Factors such as the shortage of energy resources, the high prices of fossil fuels and the effect that the use of fossil fuels has on climate make buildings one of the main focal points of energy saving and efficiency policies.

The European Union and other countries are studying the possibility of adopting policies in the short- and medium-term that encourage new buildings to be nearly net zero buildings.

About IREC
IREC is the leading research center in energy in Catalonia. Created in 2008, it specializes in researching and developing technology in connection with energy savings and efficiency and with renewable energies. More specifically, it has lines of work in technologies related to micro-grids, electric vehicles, energy storage, efficiency in buildings, bioenergy and biofuels and offshore wind energy.

The center also has an electricity and power electronics area, another aimed at investigation in research, design and characterization of materials for energy and a third devoted to socio-technical research in the energy field. The center will gradually continue to develop until 2014, at which time it will have 160 researchers and highly-qualified engineers.

IREC, headed by Regional Minister Antoni Castells, is sponsored by the following organizations and institutions: the Government of Catalonia –through the Department of Economy and Finances and the Department of Innovation, Universities and Enterprise–; the Spanish Government –through the Center for Research in Energy, the Environment and Technology (CIEMAT) and the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDEA)–; the University of Barcelona (UB); the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC); Rovira i Virgili University (URV); Endesa; Gas Natural-Unión Fenosa; and Societat General d’Aigües de Barcelona (AGBAR). The most recent additions to the board are Fundació Repsol, Enargás, Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos CLH and Alstom. IREC has two main offices: one in Barcelona and the other in Tarragona.