«There's an enormous demand for information about energy efficiency»

Alpiq EcoServices AG is the latest addition to the Alpiq Group. The company delivers integrated solutions for the energy-efficient planning and operation of buildings. In CEO Urban Frei, Alpiq EcoServices AG has at its helm an energy expert with a long track record in the business. The ETH graduate in mechanical engineering wants to establish the company as a major fixture in the sector.

Urban Frei, Managing Director Alpiq EcoServices AG

Mr Frei, what does your working day consist of right now? Right now I'm busy building the company up and networking with this in mind. I'm presenting our corporate concept to other companies in order to create a foundation for potential orders. Up to now, feedback has been highly positive. Part of my time is spent on recruiting new employees and developing our products. This includes building up the contracting system which we use to finance, plan and operate energy production facilities for customers, as well as energy data management. Another important task is implementing our marketing concept, with the aim of creating for ourselves an image as a reliable provider of top-notch offerings for complex projects in the field of sustainability.

You mention staff recruitment. What's the current status? Due to the current market situation it's proving difficult to find qualified professionals. But I have already hired three employees, and hopefully this will grow to eight or nine within the year.

And your customers? Since our company was only founded in August, we are – as I mentioned before – in the process of building up our customer base. We've already received our first order: advising a local energy supplier in Olten that is looking to build a new facility, a mixture of office and operational premises, compliant with the highest energy standards. This is an important order and a gratifying success story.

Generally speaking we address customers that value sustainability and who own or are planning to construct buildings with a high potential for energy savings. We call these lighthouse projects, where the highest standards can be achieved thanks to maximum energy efficiency and minimum CO2 emissions – for example, the Minergie-P label. Lighthouse buildings should be able to be replicated in bulk so that this pioneering technology can be used as often as possible.

Alpiq EcoServices AG also offers energy checks and optimisation measures. Does this amount to more than just issuing tips on electricity saving? After all, anyone can obtain these free from their regional electricity supplier. There's no question that tips on how to save electricity are valuable and worth obtaining. Tips on how to save electricity are application-specific and concern individual areas such as lighting. We, on the other hand, take a more integrated approach. Our energy checks and energy optimising services analyse a building's overall energy consumption. We then compare this against existing empirical values and target values to obtain a basis on which we can accurately assess the overall potential for energy savings. Saving on electricity seems to be the "in" thing. Is there a big demand for energy-saving measures? Indeed there is. In my experience, there is a huge demand among customers for information on energy efficiency. This is where we can actively contribute, because we design concrete solution proposals that aim to exploit the potential for saving without compromising on profitability. Our approach supports our customers all the way from the initial idea to implementation of the measures and follow-up checks.

More than CHF 50 million was invested in Alpiq EcoServices AG. What's the money being used for? We are using it to invest in facilities that are distinguished by the fact that they ensure maximum energy efficiency with minimum CO2 emissions. This can, for example, be the contracting I mentioned before: an important instrument in the bid for energy efficiency. In our experience there are lots of customers that want to build exemplary energy production facilities but lack the requisite capital. This is exactly where we can help, by organising the design, construction, financing and operation of the facility on the customer's behalf.