AYA is bringing the energy transition of A.S.Z. Aalst to gain momentum

The energy crisis resulted in a twofold increase in energy costs, prompting A.S.Z. to intensify its internal focus on energy efficiency. A.S.Z. identified AYA as the ideal partner for its healthcare energy transition, aligning with its long-term objectives. Shared enthusiasm and a forward-thinking perspective are the common thread in this collaboration.

Sara Coppin, A.S.Z's environmental coordinator and prevention advisor, says: "Within the hospital, we work with operational targets. In response to the high energy prices, we set an energy saving of 2 to 5 percent this year. In fact, energy savings and efficiency have been high on our agenda long before the energy crisis. These agenda points resulted in projects such as relighting, implementation of an internal energy monitoring system, installing solar panels, replacing windows, etc. Because of the crisis, it became clear that we still needed expertise to really make a difference. That's how we ended up with AYA."

“Because of the energy crisis, we were rushing to find ways to save energy.” 
Sara Coppin - environmental coordinator and prevention advisor at A.S.Z.

A.S.Z. was not looking for a one-off audit or a loose report. Instead, the organisation desired an expert partner who could support them from A to Z. Niels Vandeghinste, Energy Manager at AYA, says: “With our continuous support, we meet that demand 100%. More than ever, we are betting on total unburdening.”

Audit across the three campuses  

AYA conducted energy audits for A.S.Z. to define energy strategy, mapping the three campuses in Aalst, Geraardsbergen, and Wetteren. Those audits yielded both quick wins and long-term plans.  

“Niels visits very regularly to explain things: from third-party financing to the calculations for solar panels and charging infrastructure,” Sara clarifies. “Furthermore, we continue to put our existing internal energy monitoring system on track ourselves, to make optimisations from there too. But replacing circulation pumps and smaller energy-saving measures also emerged as optimisations from AYA's audit.”

EPC obligation: from compliance to opportunity

In the meantime, A.S.Z. is working on a report to meet the EPC obligation. Sara: “In doing so, we are not only responding to the renewed legislation for non-residential buildings. Above all, the report is a starting point for seizing even more opportunities. Niels selected the most expert organisation for us and is leading this in the right direction.” 

Step by step towards even more sustainable care

Solar energy is a primary focus for the A.S.Z., as energy produced On-Site provides the greatest savings. Together with AYA, the hospital is investigating the maximum number of PV panels possible, the cost-benefit and mapping out the follow-up path. Also high on the agenda is the relighting project, which the A.S.Z. mainly carries out itself. "We investigate internally how we can make savings by adapting luminaires, lamps and sensors. In case of concrete questions or for general advice, we regularly pull Niels' sleeve," Sara stresses. 

Power Purchase Agreement: price stability in a volatile market

Recently, AYA presented the potential of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to the A.S.Z. The reactions were approving: powerful for a healthcare environment with various stakeholders to get everyone enthusiastic right away. The PPA analysis and the clear figures did not lie: with it, the A.S.Z. can save substantially, both euros and CO₂.  

“We have a backpack full of experience to make a well-founded cost-benefit analysis on such a PPA for a diverse group of stakeholders. We are therefore as enthusiastic as the A.S.Z. about the preliminary result,” Niels states..

A seamless consumption profile

“In essence, the hospital's consumption profile has to be right,” Niels summarises. "We put everything in place to create stability in the budget. The less consumption, the better. Energy efficiency is therefore the first step. Then we investigate what is possible on-site, both in terms of flexibility and own production. This is where the PV project comes into the story. And on that basis, we can define the ideal external PPA for the whole group. In doing so, everything has to fit within the traditional energy contract.”   

Energy conservation will remain crucial in the future, as energy market volatility is here to stay. Indeed, the traditional energy market depends on what happens in the world. “And that while with PPAs and on-site projects, the energy price is fixed. So we hedge part of our energy budget,” Sara concludes. “In terms of management costs, this is a huge reassurance. In addition, thanks to the sustainable partnership with AYA, we know that we will always continue to play the most energy-efficient card.”