To combat pollution, first you must track it

MADRID -- With a heaping dose of information technology, EnerTIC seeks to reel in Europe's most active polluter: Spain.
Written by Jennifer Riggins, Contributor

MADRID -- The European Union wants to see a 20-percent cut in non-sustainable energies by 2020, but Spain has a long way to go to combat its unsavory label of most active European polluter. EnerTIC aims to cut consumption and to make Spain more environmentally and economically competitive.

EnerTIC is a platform and consultancy that measures energy consumption, highlights areas of improvement, and encourages innovation. Like its name (in the Spanish version of the acronym,) it focuses on both energy consumption and savers, by better implementing information technology and communications, or ICT for short.

According to their website, "We believe that there are many opportunities for improving energy efficiency with the application of ICTs and (the) consequent reduction in CO2 emissions," an area of pollution in which Madrid consistently breaks recordsEnerTIC helps companies "identify problems in energy consumption, to put forth initiatives to get consumption down." It provides a guide to solutions, as well as hosts meetings to share best practices and give awards to sustainability winners.

Home offices, used by only three percent of the Spanish, are becoming a hot topic in energy efficiency, along with being attractive to companies looking to cut costs, not more jobs. One of the main focuses of enerTIC is limit office energy output and travel expenses through videoconferencing, teleworking, and augmented reality, which take big steps towards eliminating the need for face-to-face negotiation. The company also aims to bring Spain more into this century with up-to-date data centers, virtualization and automation.

Three-quarters of the Spanish population live in urban environments. EnerTIC is working with construction companies and municipal, state and national governments to promote the use of smart buildings and the spread of smart cities, concentrating on the energy, transport and industrial sectors.

"It's a responsibility to the countries (of the EU) to help them become more competitive with the technical sustainability," says CEO Francisco Verderas. He thinks Spain is at the top in implementation of renewables, while only average in "smart city" planning. The North's Santander is officially going smart this year with Malaga and Barcelona well on their way. Other large cities like Madrid, Sevilla and Bilbao have yet to fully hop on the well-planned city bandwagon.

"I think the EU is the leader for these environmental issues. Other governments don't have the same problems," he says. Verderas says the EU has to import energy, while the Americas can produce their own, not feeling the same pressure for alternative energy. Spain may not be using enough of it, but it is one of the world leaders in the technology of renewable energies.

EnerTIC wants to help act as a regulator in the public sector. For both the public and private worlds, it wants to help explain and publicize the Spanish tax benefit system, including implementing a platform for companies and organizations to track their write-offs.

"The goal is to reduce the cost of energy," Verdera says. "It's fundamental to know where and when (energy) is being produced and to provide solutions of monitoring." He specifically mentioned that there is ample room for improvement at places like malls, stadiums and hotels.

One of enerTIC's major customers is in the top 10 of Spain's Bolsa (stock market): Iberdrola. This is one of Spain's few electric companies. Each of them is looking to improve its intelligent grids, in order to add and create more sensors to monitor energy productivity. Verderas says these companies are, in correlation with EU regulations, "producing more energy through renewable resources," especially where Spain heads the world, in wind energy.

EnerTIC isn't just a platform that offers advice, but it's the middle man, connecting various public and private organizations under the auspice of shared practices and open discussion.

This year already, enerTIC has hosted a conference of 250 professionals, including those from the IT, communications, space and city planning sectors, and they've organized a meeting at the British Embassy in Madrid between the two countries about low-carbon emissions, as well as another meeting for transportation management professionals. They have presented to the “Generalitat de Catalunya” in Barcelona and are planning the R&D side of the Center for Industrial and Technological Development in Madrid, "in which we have already confirmed a representation in Spain of the European Commission. We are working for the assistance of the Energy and Tourism Ministries and Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry also," says Paloma Martinez, the company's technical secretary.

Next month, they are hosting a conference on research and development in the field of ICT.

Photos: EnerTIC

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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