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Challenge / Goal

Barcelona Municipality has transformed two old textile factories into an urban innovation centre (Ca l’Alier). Ca l’Alier is the latest example of how the city’s industrial heritage is being regained for new uses. The aim is to promote the concept of net zero energy buildings (NZEB) and serve as a reference for building refurbishment industrial areas of the city.


Ca l’Alier demonstrated the feasibility of a Zero Net Site Energy Use through photovoltaics (85 kWp), connection to district heating and cooling network, and through the installation of an energy management system capable of optimising consumption and forecasting the future building energy consumption. It also demonstrated the compatibility of open communication protocols with Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Ca l’Alier integrated the features of a low energy district (e.g. low energy demand in buildings and high energy self-sufficiency thanks to integration of renewable energy resources) with advanced infrastructures related to Information and Communication Technologies and advanced control of facilities. Information management could help saving energy and reducing carbon emissions by showcasing the development and replication of smart cities’ solutions for low energy districts.

The active technologies implemented in Ca l’Alier are:

  • Lighting: LEDs and occupancy sensors
  • HVAC: variable speed fans, free-cooling
  • On-site generation: photovoltaic panels
  • Connection to local district heating and cooling (DHC) network
  • Smart Energy Management System

Additionally, within the Grow Smarter project, this solution is integrated with other measures such as “Smart local thermal districts”,“Resource Advisor”,“Big consolidated open data platform” and “Urban models”.


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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year

Implementation time: 1 to 2 years

    Main benefits

  • Decreasing energy consumption in buildings

  • Reducing energy bills

  • Improving energy usage efficiency

  • Increasing share of renewables

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