The new eco-building is fitted with high-performance features to execute major technology projects, all designed to be energy-saving. It has been classed as Category A in the Energy Performance Certification scale for buildings by the Catalan Regional Government’s Energy Institute and is due to receive the Green Certificate awarded by the Green Building Council of Spain.
SENER, the international engineering and technology group, recently opened its new corporate building in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona), that is to house its headquarters in Catalonia. Mayor of Cerdanyola del Vallès, Carme Carmona, led the inauguration event that was held on Tuesday, May 13. Other guests included Catalonia’s Secretary for Business and Competition, Pere Torres; the President of SENER, Jorge Sendagorta and the Director of SENER in Catalonia, Òscar Julià.
The building was designed by SENER’s team of architects and engineers to meet the group’s high-tech requirements. During its 20 years of operations, SENER in Catalonia has become a center of excellence in the fields of aeronautics, railway systems, hydraulic technologies, acoustics, port and coastal engineering, civil structures, advanced manufacturing and testing systems, instruments and electronics for science and space experimentation, high precision mechatronics for astronomy and major science facilities, and healthcare technology. This new headquarters will therefore house the almost 300 employees, including engineers, architects, mathematicians, physicists and medical doctors, that make up its multidisciplinary team. The building has also been designed to accommodate future extensions and to have the capacity to increase its people, innovations and projects.
At the event, the President of SENER highlighted the growth in engineering that SENER in Catalonia has experienced, with the resulting need for a suitable facility. The ideal location was found in the Parc de l’Alba. “Today we have achieved a very significant milestone for the Catalonia Division and for SENER (...), reaching an important point in a growing and ‘growing up’ process. We can look back at these two long decades with great satisfaction and move forward with renewed enthusiasm, continuing to improve and grow with new projects.”
Jorge Sendagorta spoke of the current economic crisis, pointing out that both SENER and the Catalonia Division are come weathering it: “Fortunately, at SENER we have a clear formula for overcoming these tough situations, which are not new to us in our almost 60-year history. We have powerful people who are highly qualified in engineering, who are talented and who form part of engineering teams that can compete with the best in the world. In Catalonia, we have several of these groups of excellence, and I would particularly like to emphasize their great capacity for innovation, which has been proven many times (…). It is thanks to this ability to provide innovative, cutting-edge engineering solutions for international clients, that we continue to be successful.”
The Director of SENER in Catalonia also spoke of the division’s history of growth, stressing that “it’s not easy to make an investment of this scale at a time of such difficulty and upheaval as the one we are currently going through. It is undoubtedly a demonstration of the trust placed in everyone who has made it possible for us here in Catalonia to be working on projects across four continents.” Òscar Julià thanked all the people involved in SENER for this growth, especially SENER employees in Catalonia: “It is the people of this Division who are cornerstone of our success. You are the foundations that hold everything up. Without you, we are nothing and thanks to you, we are who we are. We will go as far as you can go because, thanks to your talent, hard work, commitment, sacrifices, constancy, comradeship, generosity and capacity for innovation, we have been able to build what we are today and lay the foundations for what we’ll be tomorrow.”
The Secretary for Business and Competition of the Catalan Regional Government also expressed his satisfaction because, two years after the President of the Catalan Government laid the foundation stone, “here we are today, seeing how this building has been completed.” Torres described SENER as “a company that is constantly reinventing itself, and that is only possible if before, behind and within it there is a desire to not cling to the past, to be attentive to the needs of society and the economy and to be adaptable to new challenges. In Catalonia, we want our companies to be like this, to have this drive to reinvent themselves and always adapt to the pace of the economy.” It must be highlighted that SENER has been supported by Invest in Catalonia, the department in the Government of Catalonia that attracts foreign investment, when selecting a site for the new facility.
Finally, the Mayor of Cerdanyola del Vallès congratulated SENER on its decision to locate the Catalan headquarters in the Parc de l’Alba, saying that: “The future is already here, and what may have seemed like an optimistic perspective when it began, is now a perfect example of our attitude despite obstacles, of our support for a model of excellence when it comes to talent, development and innovation. This opening event proves that if we cooperate and work together, projects can become a reality. Here in Cerdanyola we are clear about this: we want to be an internationally renowned cluster and today, as well as the Vallès Technology Park, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Parc de l’Alba and the Sincrotró, we can add SENER to that list. It is a real source of pride to be able to include SENER in this excellent résumé.”
The new headquarters are located on a 7,500 sqm site, with 16,000 sqm of floor space and an additional 4,000 sqm space for future expansion. It has technical offices, two clean rooms, one of them a high-performance clean room (class 10,000), an electronics lab with SMD (Superficial Mounted Devices) and conventional welding capacity, two hardware integration rooms and precision mechanics workshops that can house large-scale projects. These workshops have recently been the setting of a turnkey project for the assembly of Bombardier’s C-Series plane, as well as the integration of the medical device, AUTOPLAK. The group’s total investment in this project was EUR 25 million.
From the outset, the design and construction project paid particular attention to every aspect of sustainability, following the Green Certificate methodology set out by the Green Building Council in Spain, GBCe. From the design, which included appropriate implementation and incorporated passive and energy-efficient solutions, to the construction, whose Environmental Management Plan included measures such as recycling construction waste and sourcing building materials from local suppliers within a 100-km radius. The actual design of the building also takes into account the thermal efficiency of the entire complex and the use of renewable energy sources, with elements as iconic as the photovoltaic pergola: more than 1,162 sqm of solar panels cover the building like an arbor, with an installed capacity of 215 kWp that can meet 43.5% of the facility’s yearly electricity needs. A District Heating and Cooling connection was chosen for the building’s climate control system, along with other energy-efficient solutions both for the building exterior and its orientation. The landscaped inner courtyard also helps to improve thermal inertia. Likewise, other factors have been taken into account, such as efficient use of water resources, indoor ambiance quality and the quality of services, in addition to social and economic aspects. The building has been analyzed in terms of its complete life cycle. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the building also has an electric vehicle charging point in its underground parking lot.
In sum, the new facility has very low energy consumption: under 145 kWh/m2 a year. CO2 emissions have been cut to 32 kg/m². Because of all this, it has been classed as Category A in the Energy Performance Certification scale for buildings by the Catalan Regional Government’s Energy Institute, which is the most energy-efficient rating. As mentioned, the company is also awaiting its Green Certificate, which assesses the degree to which buildings reduce their impact on the environment.
These state-of-the-art and environmentally-friendly facilities are another example of the excellence with which SENER executes all its projects. During the opening event, guests were able to see first-hand this building and some of the group’s principal projects, particularly the ones that best represent the Catalonia division: parts and manufacturing systems for the Airbus A350XWB, Airbus A400M and Boeing 787 planes; the Gate terminal regasification plant at the port of Rotterdam (Netherlands); Barcelona’s metro line 9; the cross-border high speed rail connection Figueras–Perpignan (Spain–France); the Toluca–Valle de México passenger train in Mexico; the new Jorf Lasfar energy port in Morocco; the MARES system on the International Space Station; the Tracjusa manure treatment plant in Lleida, Catalonia; the third runway at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport; the AUTOPLAK automatic inoculation and seeding system for Petri dishes; the VLT GRAAL and E-ELT M5FU telescopes; ship design using the FORAN system in the maritime sector; and the ALBA synchrotron facility.