Sustainable Energy and Buildings Guidelines
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Objective 1 - Establishing management measures to ensure the action plan implementation
Effective governance ensures that energy management strategies are well-designed, properly implemented, and continuously improved. Governance provides a structured approach to strategic planning in energy management. It involves setting clear goals, defining roles and responsibilities, and outlining the steps needed to achieve CO2 emission reduction targets.
- Formalize and publish sustainability objectives and associated action plans.
- Define and document the methodology for monitoring these goals.
- Monitor the action plan implementation and report annually on the sustainability achievements.
Objective 2 - Monitoring sustainability over time
Monitoring sustainability over time is crucial for tracking progress, identifying areas for improvement, and demonstrating accountability. It involves formalizing objectives, documenting methodologies, monitoring implementation, and reporting achievements annually. By keep monitoring over time, organizations ensure transparency, optimize efforts, and maintain long-term commitment to sustainability.
- Implement a strategic steering group
- Assign an energy emission manager responsible for the origin of energy sources and responsible consumption and consultation on renovation projects
- Define reiteration schedule to update internal sustainability policy over time
Objective 3 - Championing change and involving all stakeholders
While energy-efficient technologies and designs play a significant role, individual actions and habits can have a substantial impact. By empowering and educating users about their role in sustainability with regards to the building they use, we can truly turn to a more environmentally friendly future.
- Provide information to building’s users on the environmental impact of energy consumption/raise awareness (heating/cooling, air conditioning and ventilation, sanitary hot water consumption and electric appliances).
- Present energy efficiency best practices and “éco-gestes” to employees (e.g. through an event or a campaign).
- Display energy efficiency best practices through posters and/or stickers around the building.
Objective 4 - Deploying sustainable energy systems
4.1 Decarbonizing heating and cooling systems
- Replace gas and/or fuel for heating with District Heating (e.g. GeniLac and/or Geniterre).
- Replace gas and/or fuel for heating with heat pumps.
- Replace electric heating with District heating and/or heat pumps.
4.2 Developing energy autonomy of building(s) with renewable sources
- Measure the solar potential capacity of your building with online Geneva’s solar cadaster (SITG)
- Conduct an in-depth solar potential study of your building
- Install photovoltaic solar panels on your building’s roof and/or facades
- Install thermal solar panels on your building’s roof and/or facades
4.3 Favouring recycled and bio-sourced building materials
Recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled steel, help divert waste from landfills and minimize the need for resource-intensive extraction and manufacturing processes. Additionally, bio-sourced materials, like bamboo or cork, come from renewable sources that absorb carbon dioxide during growth. By choosing these sustainable alternatives, we can reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional building materials and contribute to a more circular and environmentally responsible construction industry.
- When renovating or building new premises, favour the use of recycled or bio-sourced materials
- When insulating premises, favour the use of bio-sourced materials
Objective 5 - Improving energy efficiency
5.1 Improving building envelope
- Replace broken windows.
- Placing taping joints on old windows, either by keeping some joints open or by organizing ventilation in parallel.
- Place automatic closing systems on doors, install airlocks.
- If building is air-conditioned or if building is not air-conditioned but with overheating in the summer : install outdoor solar protections.
5.2 Improving energy efficiency of equipments
- Collective kitchen equipment
- Cooking station : Replace direct electric hobs by induction hobs; Implement a cooking schedule to avoid using hot cabinets for storage after cooking; Size cooking equipment according to real needs.
- Washing station : Postpone the start of the wash to off-peak hours (if possible).
- Refrigeration: Heat recovery (compressor) and /or optimization of functioning mode; Reduction of capacity /of use.
- Control the ventilation rate of the elevator shaft.
- Install an energy recovery system during braking.
- IT Equipment
- Replace mechanical hard disks (HDD type) with hard disks (SDD type).
- Raise the cooling temperature of the server rooms.
- Regulate the quantity of air distribution by variable regulation systems (frequency variation).
- Laundry room (washing/drying)
- Choose equipment with an A or A+ energy label.
- Choose equipment with an A or A+ energy label.
- Connect preferably laundry equipment to a heat pump.
- Energy labels and efficiency requirements in Switzerland. Here you can find guidance on how to choose the most energy-efficient equipment.
Objective 6 - Reducing energy services demand
6.1 Reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling
Buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them. In Geneva, buildings occupied by firms and residents account for half of local CO2 emissions.
A comfortable indoor environment is crucial for people’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their work and daily life. Heating accounts for two-thirds of a household’s energy needs. Unfortunately, in current heating and cooling systems, a significant amount of energy is being wasted, for example, during unoccupied periods or in unoccupied spaces. There is great potential to reduce this excessive energy usage through practical technological design or behavioural changes.
Proper pipeline insulation helps minimize heat transfer, preventing the escape of warmth during winter and pipe heating during summer. Programmable thermostats allow users to set specific temperature schedules, reducing energy usage when spaces are unoccupied or adjusting settings based on occupancy patterns.
- Reduce heating overnight and weekends, vacations, day-offs, etc. (if necessary, a timer or optimiser can be placed)
- Insulate pipelines in non-heated spaces
- Correct heating curves setting
- Reduce burner power when oversized
- Place thermostatic control valves in all room
6.2 Reducing electricity consumption
Replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes
Install timers in intermittently used rooms (bathrooms, corridors, parking space, etc.)
Break down the network by homogenous lighting zones : in a room, independant management of lighting that are close to a window.
Turn off all computers at night
Reduce number of printers (e.g. by concentrating them in one zone/floor instead of per office)
6.3 Reducing embodied energy and indirect GHG emissions for new and renovated buildings
- New buildings
- Extend building life time
- Reduce construction elements surface by adopting compact building design
- Choose the lightest insulation materials possible
- For indoor walls, favor cement bricks or sand-lime bricks instead of clay bricks. For light walls, choose wood studs rather than metal profiles.
- Transformations and renovations
- Consider different lifetimes of different building’s elements in long term works planification
- When renovating, consider that adding new elements and new materials will increase the building’s embodied energy
- Favour simple materials of local origin and for which development didn’t consume a big amount of energy
6.4 Reducing energy consumption for sanitary hot water, air conditioning and ventilation
- Hot water
- Improve insulation of sanitary hot water tank panels
- Equip sinks’ and showers’ taps with timeouts (e.g. push buttons)
- Incitivize building users to limit hot water use (favor cold water)
- Install flow rate reductors on hot water taps.
- Air conditioning
- If fresh air input is integrated in the air conditioning system, adapt fresh air flow rate to users’ needs
- Limit operation of humidification to ≤40%
- Clean air condensators (air, hybrid or water condensators) at least once a year
- Equip rooms characterised by variable occupation with adjustable vents and with presence detectors or with CO2 sensors.
- Stop ventilation outside occupation hours
- Stop humidification when outdoor temperature exceeds 8°C
L’énergie grise dans les transformations de bâtiments.
Assessment and Action Plan Tool
The Assessment and Action Plan Tool suggests actions corresponding to the 6 Energy sector objectives of the Charter as a reference for an Action Plan definition. Based on an initial assessment, each institution should adopt its own actions, and develop and implement its own action plan in order to meet its own targets by 2025, 2028 and 2030.
The proposed objectives and actions are non-exhaustive examples and are listed according to the Impact indicator priority with suggested targets :
Level 1 : Maximum priority
Level 2 : Highly important
Level 3 : Recommended
Access the Energy Assessment and Action Plan Tool