How can real estate developments facilitate the energy transition for transport?


3E has always pioneered in the energy transition for sustainable buildings & sites and participated in paving the way for Smart Cities, including transport.

One way of facilitating the energy transition is linked to the transition to Electric Vehicles. An important challenge lies with the car manufacturers and dealers. However, real-estate developers can also contribute by using buildings and/or building plots as green energy production sources for Electric Vehicles.

3E has performed a study for D’Ieteren Immo, responsible for managing the real estate portfolio of the D’Ieteren Group (the largest service provider for motorists in Belgium). This project represents a best practice for the integration of renewables and Electric Vehicles readiness.

D’Ieteren Immo wants to use one of its garages as a state of the art project to be future proof for the breakthrough of Electric Vehicles. As part of their sustainable strategy, their wish is that this electricity comes from the on-site production of green energy. An ambitious goal, as the electricity consumption will increase with 100% compared to business as usual.

An extensive feasibility study was done by 3E regarding the yearly and hourly energy balance. Storage and grid balancing was done on an hourly basis. The ambition of the team was a “good yearly coverage”, meaning more than 80% of the electricity consumption is produced on-site with a minimum injection into the grid, or moreover an auto consumption of 70 – 90%.

A cost benefit analysis of several technologies was made to reach this goal. Considering the specific conditions of the site; the building characteristics, plot size and building orientation, the following technologies were proposed by 3E:

  • Rooftop Photovoltaic panels: The most commonly used technology for onsite building related renewable energy is rooftop PV. The position and type of panels needed to be optimized to obtain the best-case scenario. A total of 113kWp of rooftop panels were installed as an outcome of a detailed PV simulation on hourly data.
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) are an aesthetic option for integrated solar energy on roofs and walls. The detailed simulation of the building took into account shadings and efficiency on an hourly basis. This study resulted in a total of 43 kWp solar cells positioned in the glazed roof of the canopy. This technology brings not only an aesthetic way of combining solar energy with daylight access, it also gives a strong green image to the company. More information on BIPV can be found in our previous article.
  • Mid-range wind turbine: Other possibilities for renewable energy are possible on a small building plot. Mid-range wind turbines offer an interesting load profile and production for Electric Vehicle charging points.
  • To achieve the goal of a yearly coverage, we needed to investigate the need for electricity storage. Therefore, 3E looked to the production and demand profiles and the possibility to use recuperated batteries. More information on energy storage can be found here.

On-site renewable energy production and storage solutions are always case specific. 3E strives to support architects, developers and investors to define the best-case scenario for each project type and location.