Interviewpartner: María Herrando, Project Manager, CIRCE – Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption
What exactly does your company or your institution do? What is your product?
CIRCE is a research centre founded in 1993 with the support of the University of Zaragoza, to create and develop innovative solutions and scientific/technical knowledge and to transfer them to the business sector in the field of energy.
CIRCE’s mission is to drive forward improvements in energy efficiency and to spread the use of renewable energy by means of the development of R+D+I (Research, Development and Innovation) activities and formative actions that respond to the needs of national and international producers, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
What are your target groups / who are your customers?
CIRCE’s target groups are very diverse:
- Within the industrial and service sector: we provide consultancy and support in innovation actions
- The society in general: we provide training courses in all education levels, from unemployed people (basic-medium level) to under-graduates and post-graduates (high level training)
Which EU-funded project within the construction sector have you initiated? What is the name of the project? Please describe your project briefly.
TRIBE – This project aims to contribute to a change of citizen´s behavior towards energy efficiency in public building, through their engagement in a social game, linked by ICT to real time data collected from 5 pilot buildings hosting around 1.300 regular users (employees, tenants…) and almost 12.000 eventual users (visitors). The targeted average energy savings in the pilots is 24,8% of the current energy consumption. TRIBE project will carry out serious game aims to engage more than 750.000 players by the end of the project, involving users of the targeted pilot facilities and their social networks
What do you appreciate in particular when working with European partners?
One of the most interesting and enriching characteristics of European projects is the different points of view of each partner, as both the diversity of nationalities and the type of company (SME, multi-national companies, R&D Centres, etc.), allow the people that are involved to contribute differently to the Consortium, bringing together a very enriching mixture of behaviors, working methodologies and habits, etc.
Can you please tell us what were the highs and lows, the milestones or anecdotes in your European project work?
The main advantages are the diversity of opinions, different points of views and diversity of core activities of every partner that contributes to achieve milestones that otherwise could not have been reached.
The main disadvantages are the language barriers between partners, which can be solved if partners speak fluent English, and the need of periodic in-person meetings which increase the project’s budget and in some cases take a significant amount of time for travelling, but which in turn can be very productive (and necessary in most cases).
Of which results or outcomes of the project or of your work are you particularly proud of?
The project is still in its beginning so there are no plausible results or products yet.
What is the value of European projects for the construction sector?
European projects are very useful to combine different innovative actions and products produced in different countries which can complement each other, and also allow the demonstration of different products/methodologies in different climates and societies, broadening their scope and objective market.
Are you planning any further European projects in the future?
Yes, we have applied and intend to apply to several European calls (Horizon 2020, Interreg-SUDOE), and another European project has just been awarded to CIRCE, BuildHEAT (Horizon 2020).