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Mutua Madrileña's energy management strategy

by Maria Lazarte on
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Photo: Mutua Madrileña

When one of Spain's largest insurance groups decided to implement ISO 50001 on energy management systems, it knew that it would be no small feat. But with 23 buildings comprising a surface area of 208 000 m2, Mutua Madrileña believed the challenge was worth taking. And today, the group's results are paying off.

On the surface, the Mutua Madrileña Group might appear like your average large successful insurance company. It covers more than 10 million clients spread across several industries including: automotive, motorbikes, life, healthcare, legal protection, home, deaths, assistance, subsidies, accidents, mutual funds and pension plans. Its assets are worth EUR 6 644 million and it employs over 6 000 people.

The group is proud of its premises, which meet the needs of even the most demanding clients. Yet Mutua Madrileña realizes that the grounds we most need to take care of are the planet we live on. In the true spirit of an insurance company looking out for future eventualities, Mutua chose to act now rather than regret later by committing to protect the environment and reduce its energy waste.

As Mario Cabezos, Risk Prevention and Environmental Manager at Mutua Madrileña, puts it, “The Group strives to respect the environment and promote sustainable mobility. It therefore aims to be at the forefront of the most advanced systems, methods, tools and techniques to improve resource use, waste management and energy efficiency in its buildings.”

At Mutua, energy management is much more than social responsibility, it’s also a commercial and business asset. That’s because energy efficiency makes good business sense. For example, savings achieved in the various Mutua buildings help customers reduce their costs and make the real-estate offer more competitive.

Finding the right tool

Torres de Colon of Mutua Madrilena

Mutua Madrileña’s journey began in mid-2013 when, following an analysis of various environmental management systems, the company’s top management opted for ISO 50001. They considered it the best tool for achieving continuous improvement processes and energy savings.

“ISO 50001 suits our needs perfectly thanks to its versatile and flexible implementation, which is focused on energy savings,” explains Mario. “It also allows us to evaluate the scope and the pace of implementation of different measures in accordance with our strategic plans.”

In addition to including the Group’s corporate headquarters and large rented buildings as some of the challenges to the system, the insurance company also decided to add water usage, water being a notoriously limited resource in Spain.

Elements of success

When Mutua Madrileña first started implementing its energy management system across 14 buildings operated by external maintenance staff, the task appeared Herculean. Soon, though, experience showed the contrary. Once they had the right elements on board – top management commitment, the integrated and interrelated areas of the company and partner companies, and training activities at all levels of responsibility – the system began running smoothly.

“All these elements were essential for us to achieve our goals,” says Mario. Having everyone in the company on board was also key. “Part of our success was due to the creation of a Committee on Energy Saving and Efficiency, involving the participation of the area directors/managers with roles and responsibilities in our system. This regular forum was instrumental for adopting decisions and achieving continuous improvement,” he concludes.

The various training activities also sent out the message that participation was necessary to improve the system, and flexible channels were created to respond to every proposal or issue.

However, in Mario’s view, this wide level of support couldn’t have been achieved without the commitment of senior management, which reached all the way through to the Group’s President. Despite being an insurance company, where the impact of energy use may seem relatively unimportant, Mutua’s top management had shown great interest in having a beneficial system for the company, its customers, and, ultimately, for society as a whole.

Noelia Fernández, Mario Cabezos and Tomás Sánchez-Barriga
Mario Cabezos (centre) flanked by Noelia Fernández and Tomás Sánchez-Barriga of Mutua Madrileña’s Energy Management Team.

Unveiling the benefits

The implementation of the Mutua Madrileña Group’s energy management system began in April 2014. Since then, it has achieved significant savings, including the following reductions: electricity by 8.33 %; gas by 39.28 %; diesel by 24.60 %; water by 4.01 %.

“Perhaps the most relevant aspect of the system is that it takes into account the impact of variables affecting consumption, such as climate severity or the level of building occupancy,” continues Mario.

Indeed, when analysing results, Mutua uses statistical methodologies that rule out how changes in the weather and the number of tenants affect energy usage. This way it can ensure that consumption reduction is truly the consequence of better energy management rather than external factors.

Most of the savings come from operational control adjustments. “This is a system based on an in-depth analysis. Decisions on when we start or finish production, or on what thrust or return temperature we set, have a big impact on the final outcome,” says Mario.

The most interesting is that these savings were achieved with little investment, so the company did not have to wait long to start reaping the benefits. “The energy system has made a real difference to the company’s financial results and to its competitive capacity in the real-estate market,” concludes Mario.

While increased efficiency means significant economic savings, what really matters is that the Group is laying the foundations of a system designed to ensure higher-energy performance in the future.

Mutua Madrileña has just audited its ISO 50001 system and was successfully certified to the standard without a single non-conformity, across all 14 buildings. “We can now proudly boast that we have one of the most efficient energy management systems in Spain!” says Mario.