The Ikea in Jerez, first shopping center acclimatized by geothermal energy
Larges stores in Alcorcon and Valladolid will be the next ones in take advantage of the temperature of the subsoil to heat up and cool down.
Geothermal energy – it uses the temperature of the subsoil, which is always constant from 2 meters deep, in order to generate heat, cold or electricity – is hardly used in Spain, but it has a huge potential to develop. In fact, they are already using it to acclimate single-family houses and on high in public buildings, like hotels, offices and in a hospital. Now the store Ikea in Jerez de la Frontera joins them, it is the first large store in Spain acclimated through this renewable source.
A geothermal installation, is quite “discreet”, one cannot see it with a naked eye. But under its parking lot, there are 50 drilling with 127 meters deep 11 meters apart one from another. “Jerez is located in a perfect place to generate geothermal energy”, explains Enrique Jimenez, responsible for Expansion Projects of Ikea Iberica. “There in Winter – he follows – the subsoil is hotter and the temperature is used to heat up; on Summer, otherwise, is colder, so it is used to refrigerate”.
From the subterranean drilling to the engine room, where the temperature is controlled, a circuit, completely closed and isolated, with 35,5 cubic meters of water, is another basic element of the system as well as the exchanger of heat and cold. “This equipment fulfills 90 percent of the energetic needs of heating and 20 percent for refrigeration. The rest of it is made with conventional equipment and biodiesel boiler”, specifies Jimenez.
For the installation, of 320 kilowatts (kW) of power, they invested 930,000 Euros and they needed the work of a team of specialists: engineers, geologists, etc.
“Because of the dimensions of the store, the Building Technical Code (CTE) binds us to have a renewable energy generation source of 43 kW, that would have cost 170,000 Euros. Even though we cannot compare the power among technologies, the truth is that we widely exceed what the regulations demand”, he assures.
The reasons are substantial: “with this installation we will save from six to eight times more than with what they demand with the CTE, because the operational and maintenance costs are up to 70 percent less than with gasoil. Besides, it has a useful life of 40 years, but it will be paid off in eight”.
From an environmental point of view, “we will stop emitting 153 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, and of course, we avoid consume non renewable combustible”, explains Jimenez.
Jerez, one of the 20 stores with geothermal energy that the Swedish company has in the world, will not be the only one in Spain: “Alcorcon and Valladolid will be the next ones. It will be introduced in the new centers located in geologically appropriated areas and, therefore, where it is economically and technically viable, because all of them are designed in order to use a high percentage of renewable sources, according to our project IGR (Ikea Gets Renewable)”, he explains. “The goal – he follows – is that 100 percent of the energy used by the company throughout the world comes from renewable sources”. “The sustainability forms part of our DNA as a company, and this installation is a token. These projects allow us to reduce the signs of carbon, while we save and that saving affects on the final price of the products”, says Cristina Humet, responsible for Communication and Sustainability of Ikea Iberica.