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10-10-2007, 09:41 PM

15-10-2007, 02:41 AM
Hi Peter
It's really good article.I paste it below.


Energy-efficient, zero-emissions building opens in Athens
The Associated PressPublished: October 4, 2007

ATHENS, Greece: Proponents of green energy received a boost Thursday with the inauguration of an innovative building its designers say could be among the most energy efficient in the world.

The five-story structure in southern Athens produces zero emissions, uses no fossil fuel and meets virtually all its own energy demands in winter and in summer thanks to a computerized system that draws on both solar and geothermal sources. It even produces electricity on the side, some for selling back to the state.

Four years in the making, the project should give a badly needed boost to the country's promises to increase its energy efficiency and produce more power from renewables. Solar power in Greece is mainly used for heating water boilers but, until now, not for cooling buildings in the sweltering Mediterranean summer.

The project is a private-public partnership involving Greece's National Center for Scientific Research, the Development Ministry, universities in Athens and Thessaloniki and Sol Energy Hellas, a private firm that owns the building.

"It is unique in the sense that it combines different types of energy-saving technologies," project engineer Alexios Paizis told The Associated Press. "It is the only building of its kind in Europe and possibly in the world, as far as I know."

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The building's exterior resembles any suburban block of flats, with balconies and graceful iron railings apart from photovoltaic glass panels and a huge mural of Prometheus, the Titan of mythology who stole fire and gave it to man. The basement control room is filled with pipes, pumps and dials.

A three-way production system combines rooftop photovoltaic cells, geothermal pumps and absorption chillers that convert hot water, stored in huge concrete tanks, to cold for space cooling in summer. It also includes underfloor and in-wall heat exchangers and 900 sensors that monitor carbon monoxide, temperature and humidity levels in each room.

The system covers 95 percent of its energy needs, including all its heating and cooling.

Once installation costs are paid in seven to 10 years, the building's costs will be virtually nil. Such cost savings are critical for end-users like hotels and public buildings.

"The financial feasibility of the project is very attractive. The short payback of these systems gives you the ability to run them almost for free," said Ilias Nomikos, one of the project directors.

About a third of the project's 1.5 million (US$2.1 million) budget came from the government via EU funding programs, while Sol Energy paid two thirds.

The system even produces 15 percent of the building's electricity needs some of it sold to the public grid at a profit.

"It is very profitable to sell during very high demands," Paizis said, thanks to public subsidies for producing electricity from renewable sources.

The system was tested over the summer, when Athens reached a record 46.8 degrees Celsius (114.8 Fahrenheit) in June, keeping the building at a cool 22 C (72 F) while costing just 10 (US$14) a day, a fraction of a normal building's cost.

Another participant, Prof. Nikos Kyriakis of the University of Thessaloniki, said a second phase plans to cover 100 percent of electricity needs as well.