Greening up yachting one shed at a time
The shipyards going the extra mile to ensure their own facilities are as sustainable as their yachts.
It’s clear that shipyards are responding to the world’s environmental threats more than ever, building yachts such as Black Pearl and Vanadis which challenge the status quo and push eco-boundaries. But alongside building yachts that boast fuel efficiency, eco propulsion and sustainable materials, some facilities are taking ownership of the problem right on their own doorsteps – ensuring their own facilities are as sustainable as could be.
The new Feadship yard in Amsterdam, which opened its doors in May last year, is the Dutch shipbuilder’s fourth facility, and undoubtedly its greenest yet. In a location close to the city centre, its sustainable construction relies on ‘district heating.’ Already a popular form of city heating in eco-conscious cities like Amsterdam, the system allows for the distribution of both renewable and surplus heat. It sounds simple enough, but it was no mean feat to achieve. A 160-metre pipe needed to be tunnelled 20m beneath the nearby A5 motorway and railway line to connect the facility to the main branch of the district heating pipeline. Now complete, Feadship can harness the energy to heat the floor in the main hall, the spray cabins and drying areas, the workshops, and the offices. The air handling units deployed to add additional heat when required are also connected to the same heating system, and looking to Amsterdam’s blue skies for further support, the main building roof is covered in some 2,262 solar panels. This alone will generate an estimated 550,000 kWh of energy annually, used to build new Feadships up to 160 metres in length.
Solar panels are also being considered as a next step by fellow Dutch yard Heesen in a bid to reduce their overall environmental impact following on from the decision to install patented Sun Tracker technology on the roof of their dry dock in Oss. The innovative system can automatically dim the interior LED lighting to avoid wasting energy on days where natural sunlight is sufficient, thereby reducing the shed’s lighting requirements by 25%.
80km away in Alblasserdam, Oceanco has also been busy with major renovations to its outfitting facilities. “We are not only working towards building yachts with lower carbon footprints, but we are also creating a greener world within our very own facilities in the Netherlands,” says Paris Baloumis, Oceanco’s group marketing manager. “Similar to our 160-metre dry dock, which opened in 2015, our outfitting facilities in Alblasserdam will also be ecologically enhanced and updated with state-of the-art technologies.”
“By using heat pumps, gas consumption will be reduced by 50%,” explains Baloumis. “In addition to the internal works, the rooftop of the building will be covered with solar panels that will deliver 192,000 kWh a year and cover up to 10% of the yearly energy consumption for the building.”
Taking a slightly different approach is Italian shipyard Ferretti Group, which has a major energy-efficiency and sustainability project in place at its yard in the shipbuilding hub of Ancona. The yard is able to generate electricity through solar power, and it has converted all of its lighting to energy-saving LED lamps. But the star of the show is its new ‘trigeneration plant.’
Designed to combine cooling, heating and power, the plant will slash the yard’s electricity consumption by a whopping 79%, and the cost of air-conditioning and heating in its temperature-controlled indoor production areas by 32%. This means a total annual primary energy saving of around 20%.
“We have been keen to use recycled or recyclable materials on board our megayachts wherever possible for many years now, but it is the construction process, we believe, that demands the most far-reaching measures,” says Stefano de Vivo, Ferretti Group CCO. “That’s why our current focus is to make the Ancona shipyard as sustainable as it can be.”
Meanwhile, Sanlorenzo‘s new facilities at its Ameglia headquarters in Italy are set inside the grounds of Montemarcello-Magra nature park. Specifically designed to comply with set criteria to control its environmental impact, the facility has been installed with 8,000sqm of solar panels in a move towards making the site ‘self-reliant’ in terms of its energy use.
The responsibility for making the yachting industry more eco-centric does not rest with builders alone, but the innovations and efforts being made by yards around the world are heading in the right direction to safeguard the future of both the industry and the oceans that support it.