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The Prague Congress Centre

March 17, 2018

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The Neo-Functionalist façade of the Prague Congress Centre

IMAGE: Prague Congress Centre

The Prague Congress Centre has undergone a major interior and technological redevelopment as part of its quest to become Europe's most sustainable congress centre.

 

The major project included the installation of new BOSCH hot water boilers, cooling systems, a

cogeneration unit (combining heat and electricity generation), an engine room, air conditioning systems, measurement and regulation systems along with a smart lighting system.

 

The entire energy-saving project came at a one-off investment cost of 126 million CZK (€4.9 million) and will guarantee that the PCC will save 213 million CZK (€8.4 million) cumulatively over a ten year period whilst cutting down their annual operating costs and energy expenditure by at least 30%. And if the first few months of operation are anything to go by, then there’s already strong indication that the percentage of savings will become exponentially higher.

 

The project was carried out by ENESA; the country’s leading Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) provider; a company whose founding partners effectively brought the EPC concept to the Czech Republic way back in 1993. Energy Performance Contracting is an approach designed to allow projects to deliver energy efficiency/renewable energy from cost savings/renewable energy produced based on performance guarantees given by an external organisation (in this case ENESA). However, very few projects of this magnitude have been undertaken to date.

 

 

 

 

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Congress Hall Foyer

IMAGE: Prague Congress Centre

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The art of logistics

 

With 200 events and half a million visitors passing through the gates of the PCC each season, careful consideration had to be given towards making sure that the redevelopment project was not going to clash with any planned events. Thankfully, if there’s one thing the Prague Congress Centre and ENESA excels at then it’s their ability to plan ahead and overcome challenges, no matter how big or small!

 

ENESA proposed a set of energy-saving measures and introduced an Energy Management System (EMS) which would ensure a comfortable working environment throughout all of the halls, offices and corridors, whilst minimising energy consumption and maximising the use of waste energy before using new energy assets.

 

Technicians are on hand 24 hours a day to carefully monitor all of the processes and ensure that everything functions as it should. The Intelligent Control System (ICS) uses the principle of Artificial Intelligence Technology (AIT) and is able to quickly respond to any and all changes in order to precisely regulate the performance of engines, cooling machines and heat sources according to the weather, the geographical orientation of spaces, the occupancy of the rooms and halls and even the concentration of CO2 in the air.

 

 

 

Congress Hall

IMAGE: Prague Congress Centre

Individual rooms can be heated or cooled according to each event’s specific requirement, and it is even possible to deduce when a congress or a performance might be about to take place simply by viewing the online measurement data; the temperature of the air increases significantly with incoming visitors and so the demand for room heating is inversely reduced. The EMS simply measures and evaluates everything and, depending on the number of people in the room, is able to respond accordingly. Depending on the outside temperature, it regulates heating/cooling automatically and efficiently, and moreover can do so in strict accordance to the timetable, so that the optimal temperature is achieved at the very start of an event.

 

Energy expenditure is exploited to the highest degree at the Prague Congress Centre, because the EMS does not only enumerate the heat which is being generated, but it rather smartly also takes the waste heat/cold into account i.e. when preheating air in the winter months or pre-cooling it during extremely hot summer days. The air conditioning system works by drawing the fresh outdoor air through a central preheating process, where it is heat-treated to a temperature of about 11 °C to 18 °C (depending on the season), and then systematically distributes this air for circulation throughout the building.

 

Additionally, and in the preliminary stages of preparation, the air is filtered and cleaned of dust, pollen and other allergens. In individual rooms, used air (so-called waste air) is converted to 100% clean and fresh air as soon as it reaches the CO2 saturation limit. The waste air/heat from the chimney then preheats fresh air via the heat exchanger, thereby significantly reducing heat and cold consumption.

 

 

South Boardroom 1

IMAGE: Prague Congress Centre

Energy

 

Sustainable energy comes as standard at the Prague Congress Centre. 100% of the Centre’s electricity is procured from renewable resources in line with the EKO Gold standard criteria.

 

Lighting

 

All existing lights in the basement have been replaced by eco-friendly LEDs with dimming control and motion sensors which respond to movement thus helping to save energy and lower emissions.

 

Recycling

 

The Prague Congress Centre takes recycling very seriously. All waste is separated and visitors are encouraged to play their part by using the recycling bins whenever they can, helping to improve the venue’s environmental performance.

 

An evolution of improvement

 

The returns are forever improving, as the Energy Management System monitors and records all data, before number-crunching that data and recommending suitable adjustments which will further increase the efficiency of the system.

 

So far, the equivalent of 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water and most importantly; 7,000 tonnes of CO2 are being saved annually, but there is excellent scope for future improvements, and that can only be good news for both the Prague Congress Centre and the planet.

 

As Ludek Bednár, the PCC’s Technical Department Director, puts it: "It is clear today that the expected savings of CZK 21.3 million will have been exceeded and the rate of return on the investment of CZK 126 million is faster than what was guaranteed."

 

 

Congress Hall

IMAGE: Prague Congress Centre

Looking to the future

 

It seems that the Prague Congress Centre is a venue which knows all about the importance of sustainability when it comes to holding meetings and events. That’s a key sentiment shared by their Sales and Marketing Director Lenka Žlebková: "We are not indifferent to what we leave behind. We are a place where people are educated; they gain new knowledge and information and aim at valuable goals. Of course, we want to contribute to this. We want to be environmentally friendly, socially responsible, we want to promote positive values to the same extent as we always strive to provide our clients with the best conditions, safety and comfort while organising their meetings."

 

It looks like they’re not going to stop there, either. A new digital navigation system is already in the works with additional premises due to be retrofitted and refurbished in the coming months. The Prague Congress Centre is clearly in this for the long run, and views the modernisation of the Centre as yet another important step towards the future in accordance with their long-established principles of sustainability.

 

And in today’s world of business, longevity in sustainability is more than an asset: it’s an absolute necessity.

 

 

 

 

 

Plan your next event in compliance with the highest sustainability standards in Europe by visiting:

 

www.praguecc.cz

 

 

 

 

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