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Special feature

Alsace, a global player in energy efficiency

10,000 jobs and a number of industrial gems: businesses involved in renewable energy and energy savings are becoming increasingly more heavily represented within the Alsatian economy. Detailed review prior to the upcoming Energivie Summit in Strasbourg this November.

The proximity of Germany and Switzerland and their famous Passivhaus and Minergie labels, has added a zest of sensitivity to environmental issues and allowed for a region in France to become highly active in terms of issues of energy transition: welcome to Alsace. Created in May 2010, upon the joint initiative of the Conseil Régional d’Alsace and manufacturers within the sector, the Fibre Energivie centre has become the only national focal point entirely dedicated to energy efficiency within the construction industry.
For Jean-Luc Sadorge, the Managing Director of Alsace Energivie, the objective of the centre is clear: “We want to boost innovation within the building sector. This means our aim is to act as a bridge between industrial sectors and academic institutions, in what the Germans would call “Kompetenznetze” – or a network of expertise”.

A consortium of global leaders with a presence in Alsace

Among the industrial members of Fibres Energivie, we find a significant number of intermediate size businesses (ETIs) and Alsatian SMEs engaged in innovative and highly promising areas of renewable energy – including the control and storage of energy and research into improved insulation solutions. This long list of member companies includes

  • SOPREMA, one of the world leaders in sealing solutions;
  • SOCOMEC, a research centre specialised in the availability, control, and security of low voltage electrical networks;
  • Hager, a European company on a global scale, leading specialists in electrical installation;
  • De Dietrich Thermal, one of the oldest Alsatian companies, considered one of the European leaders in the manufacturing of heating solutions and hot water production;
  • Mathis, the largest French company in timber and glue-laminated timber production;
  • Osram, one of the top two global manufacturers of lighting fixtures; the Swiss company,
  • Sauter, a leader in building automation and energy management;
  • Bubbendorf with its world-renowned roller shutters.

Fibres Energivie is working on the two main aspects of the energy question: first, the casing of a house (its isolation and consumption); and secondly, how to power a building using only renewable energy forms (intelligent management, storage solutions etc.). This should ensure the consumption of the least amount of energy possible – if buildings are to reach the nearly zero energy building (NZEB) status- and that energy use leads to minimal CO2 emissions: through the use of the sun, water and – what marks Alsace above all others – deep geothermal energy.

Energy efficient buildings

A world first in geothermal energy

In Rittershoffen, north of the Haguenau forest, Electricité de Strasbourg, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and the Roquette Group (specialists in the production of starch) have joined together to develop a world first in the field of energy: to produce enough electricity from a geothermal source (through water at a temperature of more than 200°C, which circulates through the Rhinegraben rift system at more than 2,500 m in depth) to feed the plant located approximately fifteen kilometres from the drilling site. The name of this collaborative project is ECOGI. The programme has now been officially recognised by the Fibres Energivie group.

Today, Alsace Energivie has a clearly defined objective: to enter into the top 10 global centres for construction. It is hoped it can achieve this goal by, among other lines of pursuit, seeking out further projects in neighbouring Germany.

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