Sustainable facility and energy management at NION (Pt. 1)

by Oliver von Quast April 7, 2018
Sustainable facility and energy management at NION (Pt. 1)

If we don't do it, no-one else will

Dr. Oliver von Quast, Partner of NION

Dr. Oliver von Quast is a partner of NION, angel investor and serial entrepreneur, with expertise and longterm experience in the utilities and cleantech sector, and provides some ideas we have put together.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief, that someone else will save it.” That’s why, at such an early stage we have already put together some ideas of how to create sustainable measures regarding facility and energy management at NION.

Waste Management

  • 2nd use concept for food not used in restaurants, e.g. for the homeless or people in need
  • Re-use/deposit concept for all packaging (e.g. all food and beverage packings)
  • Waste collection only with emission-free vehicles (utilizing latest autonomous driving systems)
  • On-site recycling (e.g. composting of organic waste)
  • Separate drinking water and grey water cycle for non-food-related needs (e.g. toilet flushing, plant irrigation)


  • Roof gardening
  • Biodiversity concept combining local plants/animals with Japanese plants/animals
  • Storm water collection (rain water ponds to be integrated in the landscape design)

Energy Management

Thanks to very good insulation, heating energy is hardly needed in modern buildings. Our generation can cover almost all the demand for heat in the future: centralized electricity storage systems support the balancing of supply and demand, as well as offering energy- efficient applications. The possible future ban of fossil fuels will push the use of renewable energies for heating appliances. Furthermore, the continuously growing share of electricity generated by renewables, requires more flexible consumers.

Therefore, we believe that as a part of “sector coupling”, electricity is becoming a universal energy carrier. Thus, electrical energy will become cheaper and more accepted for heating in the near future. Electricity will play an important role by providing and managing flexible loads (e.g. negative balancing power),especially for large living quarters. We will therefore renounce the centralized provision of centralized hot water and water-based heating networks. Instead, hot water and heat will be generated just on demand by new generations of highly efficient electrical heating systems.

There should not be an energy management concept without utilizing a smart grid. Smart grids can add a lot of value when a couple of different types of renewable energy generators provide energy to many users. This is even more relevant, when different user profiles (living, working, leisure, etc. exist. Smart grids can be of advantage in the area of measuring, billing and the control and optimization of electricity producers and consumers.
Additionally, producing energy on-site offers several new business models to provide green energy directly to tenants (e.g. “Mieterstrom”).

As real estate companies and large lessors will take over the role of utilities in the near future by providing not only living space but also services such as energy production and provision and will thus gain additional value by grid services.

This offers advantages for both, tenants and providers: low maintenance costs, transparent and flexible green energy and heat generation at a reasonable cost.

There are many technologies available to save energy in real estate.

The technologies mentioned in Pt. 2 provide a rough overview of what can be conceivable.

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