ESCO4Gent puts energy savings for SME’s in a higher gear


The goal of the ESCO4Gent project


How do we get energy savings for SME’s in a higher gear? This is the objective of the ESCO4Gent project. Previous research has shown that 20 to 30% can be saved on the SME’s annual energy bill.

ESCO4Gent aims at achieving this ambition and effectively improving the energy efficiency of the companies in the industrial area of Ghent’s Industrieweg and Drongen I. This is achieved through a targeted inventory of the potential savings and the creation of an targeted area ESCO formula. This ESCO formula enables the SME’s to save a lot of energy without having to invest themselves.

ESCO4Gent is a collaboration between real estate specialist Quares, 3E and the non-profit organizations Industrieweg and Drongen I. The city of Ghent has also committed to support this project since ESCO4Gent fits entirely within the energy and climate objectives of the city of Ghent.

The project is supported by the project ESKIMO, specially designed for SME’s and launched by the “Agentschap Ondernemen” initiative of the Flemish Government.

What is an ESCO?

ESCO stands for Energy Service Company. These organizations take over the construction, the maintenance and the management of the buildings’ energy saving measures. The ESCO guarantees the projected energy savings, including its financing. The participating companies in the area therefore don’t have to share in the investment. The energy performance contract (EPC) groups the agreed elements concerning the power savings.

Why a regional approach?

Today the ESCO market is mainly limited to large-scale projects within a company whose energy is sufficiently large so that the investment may be refunded in an acceptable period.

The project wants to offer to ESCO oriented operations in Flanders opportunities to implement such formulas for SME’s. The potential energy savings in one SME is often not large enough, but integrating multiple SME’s in an targeted area ESCO makes these projects feasible.

However, this approach requires a clarification in terms of legal barriers, economic feasibility, financial risks and technical potential.

Industrieweg and Drongen I are Flemish pilot projects that will receive full support from both the Flemish and the local level (the city of Ghent).

Benefits of this project?

This project offers companies the opportunity to:

• Get technical advice from energy specialists with regard to energy facilities of the company and the available savings potential.
• Return the investment in energy saving technologies from the energy savings themselves.
• Receive immediately a portion of the energy savings.
• Retain the full energy savings after completion, and have a quality and sustainable building.
• Actually put into practice corporate social responsibility.

The Process of the ESCO4Gent project

The project has a duration of 2 years.

During this period, an energy land register will be developed, including the detection of the technical potential energy. The study is initially setup for the energy saving potential (relighting, hvac, facade and roof insulation, etc), but it will also examine to what extent renewable energy offers new opportunities.

Furthermore, the project will pre-emptively determine the legal, economic and financial obstacles and seek solutions in consultation with the competent Flemish and local services.

ESCO4Gent will finally develop a business and financial plan for such targeted area ESCO’s. This model should make it possible to immediately translate the experiences from these pilot projects to other industrial estates in Flanders.