Monaco is going to have its first 100% energy self-sufficient building. It will be a first on another count too – it’s a church. Saint Nicholas Church next to the Fontvielle fire Station in the first half of 2020 will go solar.
Solar Power Use is Accelerating
Thirteen public buildings in the Principality including schools are already equipped with solar power having been fitted with 2000 m2 of photo-voltaic panels. The number is growing rapidly with eight more adding 800 m2 of panels to go solar in 2020. That means using the sun will save in all over 40 tons of carbon dioxide belching into the atmosphere each year. Soon there will be no public buildings using fuel.
Electricity and Solar Replace Fuel
While the installation of solar panels is going on at a rapid pace equally other buildings are rapidly converting from fuel to electricity. It’s all part of the energy transition for a sustainable future and being kind to the environment. And there is another landmark event to record – the celebration of a centenary. 100 institutions have now joined the National Pact for Energy Transition.
Celebrating a Centenary
The Public Force, the proud military arm of Monaco embedded in the Prince’s Guards (Carabiniers) and the Fire Service (Sapeurs-Pompiers) is that hundredth institution, that has now entered into its commitment to join the National Pact for Energy Transition (PNTE). The Pact was launched in early 2018 to fulfil the objective of a low-carbon Principality by 2050. Gathered around Prince Albert II, to celebrate the centenary and the signing of the Pact was the superior Commander of the Public Force, Tony Varo. Included was also the commander of the Prince’s Guards (Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince), Gilles Convertini; and the Fire Chief of Monaco, Lieutenant-Colonel Norbert Fassiaux. This signature, made in the Fontvielle Barracks, supports a long-standing commitment made in 2005 when in his founding speech, at the advent, Prince Albert II, had launched a prerogative on the urgent need for sustainable development.
Sustainable Development – A way of Life at the Barracks
Formally joining the Pact puts the icing on the cake of a major initiatives that are already transforming how the hundreds of family members at the barracks in Fontveille and the Condamine use energy and sort waste. For them sustainable development is a way of life. LED lights have replaced all the neon and there is a fleet of electric vehicles. Surprisingly there were five electric vehicles, including a fire truck in use as far back as 1909 before the world’s addiction to fossil fuels took over. Back to the Future!
New Aesthetic Solar Power Plant
The signing of the Pact was also accompanied by the inauguration of the “solar power plant” installed on seven roof sections of the Fontvieille barracks. Almost 500 m2 of photovoltaic panels are newly arrayed on existing tiles. This will allow for energy self-sufficiency approaching 40%. This constitutes a solar farm that will power the equivalent of 24 apartments on five floors of the buildings. That’s another reduction in greenhouse gases of just under 10 tons per year that would be otherwise belching into the atmosphere.
And it has a novel aesthetic dimension too. It marks a first in the Principality for the use of a terracotta shade (instead of black and blue panels) for a better and harmonious integration in the environment.
Energy transition has two aspects. There is the installation of all the new technology with solar and electricity. And there is the “way of life” – how to embrace sustainable development. For this second aspect it is important to question our habits in order to modify them to consume less energy. We are all joining the club of those who have adopted the “Transition attitude”.