How do you ensure optimal energy usage in your business while also meeting the needs of employees with fully electric vehicles? Thanks to the precision of Smappee’s technology, Enerdo can do both every day. The user-friendly app and intelligent dashboard ensure that the Limburg-based company can manage their electricity usage in the most cost-effective way possible.
If it was up to Enerdo, we would increase our energy-efficiency targets even higher than the current required standards. “We are a civil engineering firm consulting on building projects to make them sustainable and energy-efficient, and our clients include companies and individuals,” says Enerdo’s HR manager, Sara Jans. “Given that this is our core business, we obviously look very closely at the energy usage of clients’ buildings. Our aim firstly is to help them to become energy-neutral and, if possible, energy-positive at a later stage. We do this by meticulously mapping the energy consumption of a building and looking for the most suitable way to generate power while using the highest possible ratio of recycled materials.”
Maarten Ooms, Enerdo’s chief executive, has been going one step further since 2022. “Working with Moonfish, our sister company, allows us to be even more data-focused to optimize our clients’ business and production processes in terms of energy-efficiency. While Enerdo and Moonfish are two independent businesses, our expertise and knowledge overlap so that there is a good synergy between us,” Sara explains.
Expanding charging infrastructure
If your company’s core business is improving the energy usage of buildings, you must set an example. “We had solar panels on the roof of our office building but realized in 2020 that this isn’t enough. A year later we therefore began to make our vehicle fleet greener. We decided to skip hybrid vehicles and invest in fully electric vehicles, leapfrogging the transition phase. This, combined with being able to charge our vehicles with solar energy, result in greater CO2 savings. We already had two charging stations but knew that we’d need more and began looking around for a company to upgrade and expand our charging infrastructure.”
This search brought Enerdo to Isola, a company based in Tongeren. “The company’s services initially centered around heating, insulating, floor-screeding and -finishing,” says Isola’s technical commercial consultant, Jan Dergent. “Acquiring BSX, now called BS Comfort, allowed Isola to add the installation of solar panels, home batteries and charging stations to our services. We offer several brands and Smappee has become our go-to supplier of charging infrastructure. The main reason for this is the fact that we believe in the intelligence of their technology.”
“The greatest benefit of this system is the detailed and ongoing monitoring it provides.”Sara Jans, HR manager Enerdo
It didn’t take Enerdo long to decide on Smappee and in 2021, Isola began installing ten connectors divided evenly among five EV Base charging stations.
“The greatest benefit of this system is the detailed and ongoing monitoring it provides.” Sara Jans explains. “Smappee’s technology continually monitors how much power is available on the grid at any time of the day and how much solar power is being generated. This is important because Enerdo’s solar panels don’t generate enough power for the building as well as the vehicles, and we still need to draw power from the main grid too.”
“We also keep a keen eye on changes in the electricity tariff during the day,” adds Emile Bekaert, Smappee’s key account manager. “For example, when there isn’t any solar energy available but it’s very windy, the tariff will be affected, and we can adapt accordingly. At the same time, we check the available capacity against demand from clients. For example, we’ll check which power-intensive equipment (air-conditioning, ventilation units, rainwater pumps, etc.) are running and use load balancing to divide the available capacity among equipment in use and charging stations.”
Settings and scheduling
Load balancing is a very sophisticated process. Sara Jans and Emile Bekaert explain how it works in practice at Enerdo.
“Because staff vehicles are usually charged at our premises, everyone who drives an electric vehicle has the Smappee App on their phones,” says Sara Jans. “In the morning they scan the QR code at the charging station and enter how many kilometers they have to drive that day and when they have to leave. It makes it clear who must get how much power and when. Smappee’s system then uses that information to ensure that the different charging processes run optimally.”
“This is done by converting the kilometers to be driven into kWh,” explains Emile Bekaert. “In this way we can prioritize, as someone who must leave at 2 pm will need their vehicle to be charged before that of a colleague who will leave at 6 pm. The system does forecasts, which allows us to postpone charging sessions until conditions are more favorable. If we, for instance, expect it to be sunny in the afternoon, it won’t make sense to charge all vehicles at midday when it’s not as sunny and less free solar power is available. We’d rather pause certain charging stations until the sun is out. Naturally we also take the capacity tariff into account. The process is automated, and all these factors are mapped on the dashboard.”
The Enerdo team has been using Smappee for more than a year. “The app is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, and we were very excited to implement it,” says Sara Jans. “We currently are in a situation where we have more electric vehicles than charging connections, but the system is handling this challenge well.”
“Smappee handles the configuration of the system and provides other support such as in-person training at their premises,” says Jan Dergent. “But they also provide online training, and we have access to first-line support in urgent matters. This makes things much easier for Isola and ensures fully satisfied end customers.”
The Smappee dashboard clearly shows that the charging stations have been paused until electricity tariffs are at their lowest. In this way, electric vehicles can be charged as cheaply as possible. For example, on 6 April, 168 kWh were used during eight separate charging sessions at a net cost price of €18. If Smappee had charged the vehicles immediately, the cost would have been €24. An analysis of all smart charging sessions at Enerdo during the first quarter of 2023 – more than 550 sessions in total – shows a total consumption of 13 MWh at a net cost of €1.715. Without distributed charging, the same energy consumption would have cost €2.080. Taking advantage of tariff variations therefore resulted in a saving of €365 (or 17%).
Industry Civil engineering
Enerdo is an engineering consulting firm that works with companies and individuals to neutralize the ecological impact of construction projects or to make them energy-positive at a later stage. The team of 35 is based at Enerdo’s offices in Lummen from where they undertake surveys and consults on techniques, safety, environmental impact and energy efficiency.
Under chief executive Marten Ooms they work with clients to balance their personal needs with all the technical, aesthetic, legal and financial considerations on every project they undertake. They do this by finding the most innovative solutions to make construction projects and the final buildings as environmentally friendly as possible.
Since 2021, Enerdo has been working hard to create a sustainable company fleet by investing in fully electric vehicles. As a result, they had to significantly increase their charging infrastructure since their existing solar panels didn’t generate enough power for an electric fleet. Enerdo therefore set out to find a solution that combined aesthetics, functionality and energy-optimization.
Isola, an installation company based in Tongeren, installed five Smappee charging stations with two connectors each alongside Enerdo’s existing two charging stations. They also installed a bigger power cable to connect them with the nearby high-voltage cabin. The charging stations are almost exclusively for the use of Enerdo staff who have fully electric company vehicles. By using the QR code and Smappee App, they can now easily plan their daily charging sessions.
- Optimal energy consumption with the best possible control over their electricity bill
- Being able to take full advantage of dynamic tariffs
- A dashboard that monitors all large energy users
- Being able to meet the energy needs of each vehicle in an organized manner
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