Not usually noted for their green credentials, the Repsol garage at Calle Alberto Aguilera in Madrid has established a new standard in petrol station design.
The future has already arrived at service stations: sustainable, with universal accessibility, a greater fuel offering such as Autogas, electric car charging... The new service stations feature services to serve a more demanding consumer. They are also becoming genuine idea laboratories for innovating in energy efficiency systems and incorporating social improvements.
From the petrol pump to the sustainable station
“This is a story of rising complexity,” stated Antonio Calçada, director of Repsol’s Service Stations in Spain. Within merely 30 years, we have gone from the old petrol pump on the street to stations where it is almost possible to do just about everything: refuel, shop, eat, rest and play.
In a society changing at a dizzying rate, service stations are at the forefront in many aspects. Not merely in terms of a business, constantly adding more products and more services, but also accepting the new challenges thrown at it by society in aspects such as energy saving or the need for professional integration in groups at risk of exclusion.
“We are heading towards a service station”, continued Calçada, “which already incorporates those needs demanded by our society, for example, regarding accessibility, and that develops products that complement the sale of fuel, such as the non-oil business, shops, carwashes and other extra services.”
Recycled materials, such as the paper from 7,000 newspapers have been used for its walls or 64 kilos of sheep’s wool as insulation.
An idea laboratory
The recently opened service station in Madrid’s Calle Alberto Aguilera, gives an idea of where the Repsol network is heading in the near future. With a considerable investment effort, it has managed to build the world’s first sustainable service station with a Breeam certificate, global leader in assessing and certifying sustainable building. This certificate includes reducing environmental impact, optimizing the benefits of sustainability, and methods of measuring and monitoring consumption and resources. The service station is also 100% accessible and has the AENOR universal accessibility certificate.
From the outset, the project has aimed for its environmental impact to be minimal. Recycled materials, such as the paper from 7,000 newspapers have been used for its walls or 64 kilos of sheep’s wool as insulation. Other materials have been re-used, such as the canopies designed by the architect Norman Foster, which come from another service station.
The design also has the aim of fully integrating the building, located right in the heart of Madrid, in its urban setting. The project has had the approval of the City Council’s Historic Heritage Committee. According to Antonio Calçada, it also anticipates how “from a construction standpoint, society will increasingly demand that service stations are friendly, accessible and sustainable.”
This ‘station committed to the future’ also incorporates innovations in terms of sustainable mobility: a charging post for electric vehicles and a B20 biodiesel pump. Another example of these new times is its bicycle parking area with a changing room for cyclists. Energy efficiency has been another of its priorities and, among its advances, 100% of the service station lighting uses LED technology, which will give an electricity consumption saving of 80%.
In 2009, the company implemented the “Edison Plan” to promote the efficient use of energy in its service stations. Data show that by improving these practices it is possible to save up to 10% consumption. The latest energy efficiency technologies are also being installed in the network’s service stations within the framework of this plan. The energy and emissions saving achieved to date is estimated at 12,100 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The network’s almost 6,000 employees have been involved in developing this plan, in tasks such as the identification of practices that could be improved in order to achieve energy savings. A Decalogue has also been produced, called Top de Ahorro de Energía (Top Energy Saving), with specific guidelines that vary monthly to adapt to each point of the year.
Various actions have also been carried out regarding lighting. Among other measures, over 8,000 x 250W canopy lights have been changed for others of 150W and the replacement of the current equipment by LED technology in the canopy image and store signs, lighting mast lamps in the station, fluorescent lights and dichroic lamps in the stores, etc. is being finalized at over 1,200 network points-of-sale. These actions as a whole have meant an investment of 6 million Euros, and have managed to save 13 GWh per year.
“We should highlight the role our service station network is playing in the professional integration of disabled people.”
Investment in technology has involved the installation of different equipment, such as presence detectors, telemetering and home automation systems for consumption management, which make it possible to control and optimise the equipment operation (air conditioning, lighting, cold stores…) and provide a saving of 11.9% with respect to the annual average consumption of a service station.
Using statistical analysis techniques, Repsol has also developed its own energy intensity indicator that makes it possible to detect those installations with substantial potential for improvement and those that can be classified as a model of efficiency.
The network of the future
The network of the future also wants to be a reflection of the society it forms part of and include some of the demands it makes. “We should highlight”, underlined Antonio Calçada, “the role our service station network is playing in the professional integration of disabled people”.
With 3.56% of people with disabilities in its workforce, it is the area of the company that employs the largest number of workers from this group of people. Repsol has also executed a plan to make 500 of its service stations accessible, meaning it is one of the largest in Europe with adaptations of this type.
The company also performs professional training courses for people at risk of social exclusion in different areas of Spain. Since 2005, more than 500 people have taken part in these courses, and over 300 have been recruited in its service stations.
During the opening of the Alberto Aguilera service station, Antonio Brufau, company Chairman, summed up how Repsol wants its future network to be “Our ultimate desire is to be sustainable, responsible both socially and in terms of energy, and we create each new service station with that in mind.”
image credit Nicole Jewell