LowUP: Tell us a bit about your company. What does it do and in which way is it involved in energy efficiency?
Raquel: EndeF is a solar technology company located in Zaragoza, Spain. Our goal is to develop and implement solutions based on energy efficiency and the generation of energy with renewable sources. In this regard, the company is focused on solar energy systems and we offer innovative solutions throughout the whole process of your solar installation. In order to carry out our activity, we operate in three business lines: Engineering, Manufacturing and Installation, which, together with our R&D and Monitoring areas, give us the possibility to work under an integral method that allows us to offer solutions in all phases of the process. Our leading product is the solar hybrid panel Ecomesh, which provides heat and electricity and includes our patented TIC technology which places it as one of the most efficient solar panels on the market.
LowUP: What is your company’s role in the LowUP project?
Raquel: We are the responsible for the development of a new solar photovoltaic-thermal panel (PVT) adaptable from other PV modules that includes a phase change material (PCM) layer within the same module. This type of material is able to store energy during its phase change and release it when it comes back to the initial state. This trait is applied to solar hybrid collectors with a twofold objective: to reallocate the heat generation from the peak sun hours to the final hours of the day and to protect PV laminate from excessive temperature values during midday. As a result, the PVT panel is expected to improve both the thermal and electrical performance.
LowUP: When do you think the nZEB (near-zero buildings) will become a reality? How do you see the energy efficient building market in 10 years?
Raquel: Based on the last data acquired related to the climate change and the global warming, we have the necessity of the nZEB to become a reality. Heating and cooling energy demands constitute a significant part of the total energy need of the world. Thus, the construction sector needs to incorporate innovative solutions to reduce this consumption to a minimum. Within this frame, renewable energies play a key role to obtain this goal, especially the solar energy that provides in-situ heat and electricity from an endless, clean and cheap source which is the sun. However, to really incorporate these solutions to new constructions without losing the comfort we all are used to, we need to develop real, applicable and profitable solutions.
LowUP: What do you think are the main barriers for energy efficient solutions in buildings?
Raquel: There are several aspects that may slow down the implementation of the energy efficient solutions. On one hand, construction agents (architects, installers, workers) are sometimes reluctant to incorporate new and unknown solutions different from those they are used to. Moreover, some energy companies based on traditional fossil fuels are not directly interested in the development of these type of solutions which may contribute to hold them up. On the other hand, we also need to make these efficient solutions really valuable to the end customer: upgrading its use, improving the energy performance of each system and implementing them in a cost-efficient way.
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