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Saving energy

through sustainable architecture

The new Melittaklinik was designed for a high degree of efficiency in the use of resources right from the planning phase. The building was insulated according to the latest technical possibilities and uses state-of-the-art technologies to cover its own electrical and thermal energy requirements. The use of efficient electrical machines and liquid-cooled or -heated ceilings reduces the average annual demand for electrical power to 240kW for the entire building. Two thirds of the required energy is covered by the photovoltaic system, the combined heat and power unit and the solar thermal system for self-consumption, which generate approx. 400,000 kWh of electrical energy and approx. 600,000 kWh of thermal energy combined per year. The effective load on the public grid is thus only about 80kW, or about 20 households.

Gold-certified, class A green building

The planning and construction of a building sets processes in motion that affect several generations and have an impact on more than just the costs of maintenance and management. The choice of appropriate materials, technologies and plant systems allows the construction or renovation of houses with very low energy consumption, which at the same time offer high thermal comfort and environmental protection.

Climahouse classes indicate the level of energy consumption of a building and range from Gold (best performance) to C (typical for renovations) to Class G. The Melittaklinik was rated Climahouse A Gold: Gold for the efficiency part of the building envelope and heating energy demand, and A for energy performance. This makes the clinic the first in Italy to carry this rating.

Heat pump: Energy from the environment

Heat pumps protect the climate because they draw around three-quarters of the energy for heating from the environment. The most common heat sources are air, the ground and groundwater. To make use of the free environmental heat, heat pumps only require a small amount of electricity for the drive and pump. The technology, legal requirements and costs differ depending on whether the energy is extracted from the air, earth or water.

A heat pump heating system consists of three parts: the heat source system, which extracts the required energy from the environment; the actual heat pump, which makes the extracted environmental heat usable; and the heat distribution and storage system, which distributes or temporarily stores the thermal energy in the house.

Solar thermal: Hot water from the sun

Every day the sun radiates free energy that buildings can absorb with a solar thermal system. Solar thermal energy works very simply: collectors capture the radiation and convert it into thermal energy by heating water before a storage tank absorbs this heat. Depending on the size of the system, it can then be used to heat water or to support the heating system. If the solar supply is greater than the heat demand in the building, a solar buffer storage tank absorbs the energy from the system before releasing it to the consumers with a time delay. In this way, the maximum solar heat can be used for the building.

Photovoltaic: Electricity from sunlight

Photovoltaic systems consist of several photovoltaic modules, which in turn consist of photocells or solar cells. The latter convert the incident sunlight into electricity by means of electronic components made up of differently structured semiconductor layers. In most cases, the semiconductor material is high-purity silicon that has been deliberately "contaminated" with other chemical elements. A single solar cell delivers only a small amount of electrical power, which is why many solar cells are connected in series or in parallel to form a module. In the module, the thin, fragile solar cells are protected behind glass panes. Glass-glass modules prevent damage to the solar cells due to deflection of the modules, as occurs, for example, as a result of snow or strong winds.

Combined heat and power unit: Long-lasting high efficiency

Combined heat and power units (CHP) produce heat as well as electricity in just one plant. This approach makes CHP units a particularly economical and environmentally friendly energy producer, because the efficiency of a CHP unit is between 80 and 95 percent. The overall efficiency of a CHP unit is made up of the thermal and the electrical. A CHP unit operates sustainably when it can be operated at full load for long periods of time, a condition that always occurs in hospital operations.

ISO 14001 – certified environmental management

The Melittaklinik has been ISO 14001 certified for over ten years. This international environmental management standard sets out globally recognised requirements for an environmental management system and includes numerous other standards on various areas of environmental management, including life cycle assessments, environmental indicators and environmental performance evaluation. ISO 14001 focuses on a continuous improvement process as a means to achieve the respective defined goals with regard to the environmental performance of an organisation. To this end, a company should define an operational environmental policy, environmental goals and an environmental programme, as well as establish a corresponding management system to help achieve the goals.