One of FCC Environment strategic policies focuses on the sustainability of its activities, especially on minimising negative impacts on the environment. This strategy centres on analysing productive processes through the lens of innovation, so that minimum energy is used and, as far as possible, from renewable sources. In addition, for many years now the company has had a management system in place certified by AENOR based on the standards UNE-EN ISO 9001 and UNE-EN ISO 14001, according to European EMAS standards.
ZEV mechanical sweeper in San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa
FCC Environment has a fleet of 16,400 vehicles in service and every year manages more than 24.5 million tonnes of waste as a resource. Consequently, the greatest environmental impacts of its activity are derived from the energy consumption at treatment plants and vehicle fuel.
The publication of standard UNE-EN ISO 50001:2011 "Energy Management Systems" facilitated the implementation of an energy management system in the organisation that has also been certified by AENOR (No. GE-2013/0022) throughout Spain in 2016. This system allows FCC Environment to know how energy is being used in the provision of services and to implement efficiency measures, such as:
- The use of energy efficient vehicles (hybrid or 100% electric vehicles) or which use alternative fuels (natural gas). There are currently 2,126 of these eco-friendly vehicles in operation.
- The use of renewable energies at facilities to make them more sustainable, especially those produced at the facility itself.
- Training in efficient driving for workers.
- Replacing energy-consuming equipment with more efficient alternatives (lighting, electric engines, etc.).
- Route optimisation systems.
As a prime example of eco-efficient engines, we can highlight the contract for cleaning and maintenance of the Barcelona sewer system delivered by FCC for which, since July 2016, the first complete fleet of 100% electric vehicles is being used, with 13 units of specialised machinery on heavy lorries, 28 units of specialised machinery on vans, plus 15 vans.
100% electric suction-drive sewer system equipment, Barcelona
The innovative infrastructure that manages the charging of the electric vehicle fleet is based on a "smart" system that optimises the charging of each vehicle according to the work shift, the power available on the grid and the times when the cost of energy is lowest.
Smart electric vehicle charging facility, Barcelona
Another success story involves FCC facilities, where many energy efficiency measures are implemented. The use of any generated residual electricity that can reduce the importing of energy from the grid is promoted. The Barbanza treatment plant (A Coruña) makes use of biogas from landfills to run thermal engines that produce electricity for own use. In addition, heat from the process is recovered and used to purify leachate generated at the plant.
Biogas energy recovery facility
Other efficiency measures are also being implemented at the rest of the facilities:
- Installation of LED lighting, which affords an "A" energy rating.
- Photovoltaic power generation facilities for own use.
- Installation of systems for measuring and controlling the electrical installation.
- Installation of solar thermal energy panels as support for heating and domestic hot water.
Energy efficiency is a process of continuous improvement, not only through technology but also by innovating in how operations personnel, whose engagement is essential, think about and address day-to-day problems.
These actions must be recorded, measured and monitored over time and extended as good practices to the rest of the organisation. To that end, a certified energy management system as is UNE-EN ISO 50001:2011 has proved to be a vital support.