The Hague is the seat of the Dutch parliament and host to a multitude of government buildings. It’s also home to a project that could be game changing for the future of energy efficiency and sustainability – the City Battery. Located in the Rijnstraat 8 building, it’s one of the milestones of global infrastructure investor and developer, Invesis, on the path to fulfilling its brand promise of transforming lives through sustainable infrastructure.
Rijnstraat 8 is a large government office, which was modernised and refurbished by Invesis under a PPP contract focused on enhancing sustainability. The construction was completed in 2016 and the 25-year Facilities Management agreement means Invesis continues to be heavily engaged in the operation of the building, including the Dutch government’ commitment that all of its sites in the Hague are completely energy neutral by 2040.
Solar panels mounted on Rijnstraat 8 in the modernisation produced 224,488 kWh of electricity in 2022 and Invesis has been actively involved in discussions with local building managers to increase energy efficiency even further. Invesis and their partners at Energierijk The Hague came up with the idea of using a battery system to ensure the optimal use of the sustainable energy generated by storing it for later use and deploying it across all the local government buildings at their varying times of peak usage.
This innovative solution recently came online and will play an important role in putting city battery theory into practice: This is one of the first times that the practical side of city battery usage on this scale has been put to the test in the Netherlands and the results will be shared openly for the benefit of all of those looking to learn more about clean energy storage, a key element of the energy transition from fossil fuels.
Enhancing our existing portfolio with green elements is something Invesis sees as an important part of its strategy as a long term sustainable investor and developer. Gerald Koch, Business Development Director, Energy Transition & Digital Infrastructure sees the experience and knowledge that will be gained from the City Battery as having future commercial and environmental pay-offs for both Invesis and wider society.
In the meantime, the Invesis ethos to stay involved through the entire lifecycle of projects also gives it the opportunity to make both O&M cost savings that benefit its’ bottom line and, often that of the client, as well as carbon reductions, years after initial construction is finalised. Examples of Invesis retrofitting existing concessions as part of its commitment to a greener, more responsible future include a £1 million project to provide sustainable solar power to the Wharfedale Hospital. This will reduce its reliance on conventional energy sources and, in turn, lower the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s carbon footprint.
The 617 solar panels mounted on an innovative steel carport spanning the majority of the patient/staff external car park, are a sustainability enhancement suggestion of Invesis Facilities Management partner, BAM FM. Project managed by Invesis, the scheme will reduce carbon emissions by 43.7 tonnes per year and save the Trust £75,000 annually. The electricity generated will reduce the use of grid electricity by 15%, which is equivalent to powering 60 UK households.
Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s a real positive that the power required to run Wharfedale Hospital will be partly supplied by green energy, especially as the energy demands for the site will increase with the opening of a permanent Elective Care Hub.”
Meanwhile, at St Peter the Apostle School, part of the West Dunbartonshire Schools PPP, Invesis was instrumental in the installation of roof-mounted solar panels. The utility savings will be passed on directly to the Council, which paid for the project, as they are the primary bill payer and have the tariff risk for the project. In addition, it’s projected that 17,790 kg Co2 per year will be avoided, with the education authority now looking to extend the programme at their other local schools.
Coincidentally, the schools in the West Dunbartonshire Schools PPP form one of a number of Invesis projects annually assessed by GRESB (Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets). This global benchmark assesses the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance of real assets worldwide. GRESB provides valuable insights into sustainability practices and feedback to Invesis in measuring its progress as a sustainable investor developer and is able to apply that learning to its other assets.
The replacement of around 8000 lighting fixtures in government facilities at Schiphol airport, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2024, is another example of what can be done to green core assets and to make their operations more sustainable. Invesis invested €1.5m in this initiative which will reduce CO2 emissions by about 3.5m kgs over the remaining 13.5 years of the contract.
Invesis has also been proactive in setting foundations to facilitate future green technologies through its acquisition of Asanti Datacentres, which is well-equipped to meet the soaring demands for data centre capacity with low latency to effectively handle high-volume data processing. Stewart Laing, Asanti’s Chief Executive puts it like this: “We can help customers deliver their services more efficiently, reducing power consumption, at lower costs – and reduce their carbon footprint.“
The firm’s recent switch to 100% renewable energy will also reduce carbon emissions related to its 14m KW of energy use to zero, eradicating an estimated 2,856 tonnes of CO2 every year. Like its parent company, Laing highlights that, “Our clients in both the public and private sectors are striving towards ‘Net Zero’, and we can assist this in a variety of ways. It is important to be able to assure them that we are on the same pathway and committed to finding new and innovative ways to achieve fully sustainable ways of working.”