SCI-Network - Sustainable Construction @ Innovation through Procurement

SCI Network - SCI-Network - Sustainable Construction @ Innovation through Procurement

Whole life costing for a swimming pool in Olhão, Portugal

In 2011 the Portuguese Municipality of Olhão in the Algarve – in an effort to diminish their dependency on fossil fuels and taking on consideration for whole life costing (WLC) methodologies – developed a plan to install renewable energy equipment in several of its buildings. In June 2011, a thermal system was implemented in the municipal swimming pool comprising of 50 solar panels which will provide heating of the water for the swimming pool, and other equipment in the building.

The Municipality recognised that it required support to procure using whole life costing as it did not possess the skills and knowledge within its own team to make such decisions without external help.  As such it identified a local government agency, the Regional Agency for Energy and Environment of the Algarve which had the necessary expertise and with whom partnering was possible.  The Agency comprises of several regional and national entities, charging low rates for services due to its not-for-profit status. The resulting procurement process, managed by the Agency, saw the appointment of a specialist company to deliver installation and management of the equipment and systems required.

The procurement process had specific WLC requirements embedded within it, looking at the life-time expectancy and quality of proposed equipment. Each of the applicants for the tender process provided different budgets with different quality standards. By using WLC the real cost of competing bids could be thoroughly assessed leading to a financial and environmentally sustainable project.

The project encompassed a sustainable approach to construction, enabling not only a reduction in energy consumption, but also the use of clean energy in direct substitution for natural gas. The maintenance operations are also reduced, leading to further savings over the life of the facility. Furthermore, for a total investment cost of €85, 000, the new system will enable the public authority to achieve annual savings  of  €15,000 that were previously spent in natural gas, resulting in approximately six years of payback. From a financial perspective  the  payback is relatively short, but environmentally the positive benefits are not only in the reductions on CO2 emissions, but also in overall energy consumption as the new equipment has  enhanced efficiency capabilities.

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