Sustainability is one of the main focuses of cluster action for two reasons: on the one hand, it is a target priority within the sector – energy efficiency and comfort. And on the other, due to the importance that sustainability and its impact on climate change is acquiring in all sectors.

Energy and efficiency

Several initiatives have been developed to promote have been developed to promote the implementation of new open innovation solutions. In several cases, the participation of users has taken centre stage, which is why H-ENEA, ACEDE's living lab, has been involved.

Codesigning new proposals: (Open and accessible innovation)

During 2016, ACEDE began to participate in the SmartEnCity project, whose mission was to design a common strategy for the creation of CO₂-free smart cities within the framework of the Horizon 2020 R&D+i Programme. This demonstration project ended in 2022 and 3 European cities have been implemented, carrying out energy rehabilitation and redevelopment activities for the installation of district boilers and sustainable mobility initiatives. This has been achieved with the help of digital tools that monitor actions for subsequent evaluation. ACEDE’s role, through the Living Lab, is focused on citizen involvement.


In 2019, we embarked on the Science and Technology Plan of the Department of Housing of the Basque Government. A Plan directed by Alokabide, a public company for the development of the social function of public housing. Its objective is to promote the transformation of the residential construction and rehabilitation sector in the Basque Country. Through a new model of subsidised housing for social rent based on the service and well-being of people focused on the pillars of the Digital, Sustainable and Social. The role of ACEDE, together with H-ENEA Living Lab is to facilitate the conceptual alignment of the project throughout its execution of these different actions.

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In 2019, Photovoltaic for Home(FV Etxean) began, a process of social participation with an objective to encourage households in the Debagoiena area to produce their own energy through the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of neighbouring communities in the Alto Deba Region. By the end of 2022, 724 homes had been installed or were in the process of installing PV on community rooftops.

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Research with users: reducing consumption

A decade ago, activities to monitor electrical and thermal energy consumption were carried out in 10 homes of Alokabide. Residents of the houses participated in a project researching their energy consumption. This initiative was called Enerbizi. The electric and thermal meters sent data to a web application that showed the divided consumption of each home. Users could see what they consumed and compare this with the usage of other study participants. The web application also offered various tips to change habits and reduce energy consumption. The result was positive in all cases.

In 2017, Birgaitzen began, an initiative designed for energy-vulnerable homes in which economic or free insulation solutions were proposed (depending on household income) to reduce energy consumption and increase thermal comfort in homes with poor insulation. To date, more than 50 households in the “Debagoiena area” have been involved in the process.

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Demostrador Living Lab

In 2020, the implementation of the Orkli Living Lab began in our innovation garage. This space is used to interact with specifiers and installers to show them the on-site benefits of comfort solutions in its catalogue, and to train them to provide effective and efficient installation. In addition to this Living Lab of the latest comfort solutions from Orkl, ACEDE has been incorporating these solutions in operation at its facilities: OKSol solar thermal water heating system, underfloor heating, cross-air renewal system with recovery of heat, photovoltaic installation, with Ekitermik. All this experience allows us to learn from experience in order to raise awareness about sustainability and comfort with full knowledge of the facts.

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Circular Industry

Research and analysis

Remanufacture consists of returning a product to a guaranteed state of quality equivalent to, or higher than that of the original product. It requires a high industrial mastery and knowledge of industrial parts. ACEDE began to investigate the possibilities offered by remanufacturing in the Gipuzkoa region in 2015. Since then we have carried out activities related to analysis work and company action, plus advisory and training activities in this field.

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In 2015, Remanufacturing Gipuzkoa launched, with the objective to boost collaboration between companies with remanufacture potential in industrial areas such as Gipuzkoa. This project was funded by the Department of Economic Promotion of the Gipuzkoa, later IHOBE, the Public Society of Environmental Management of the Basque Government commissioned a study called Remanufacturing Euskadi in 2016, with the aim of carrying out a first diagnosis current state of reconditioning and remanufacturing activities in the industry of the Basque Country. Later, GUREAK industrial commissioned us to explore business options in remanufacturing. In 2017, Recup-Reman carried out a first exploration of white goods appliance reconditioning and remanufacturing options for the Emmaus Social Foundation. This initiative was developed in the Renode project, a project from 2017 in which companies Emaus Gipuzkoa, Indumetal, Motorlan, Talleres Arrano and Sareteknika participated. The objective was to learn from achievements and mistakes, stimulating collaborative processes to generate new experiences and fresh knowledge. Finally, it has participated in mentoring the doctoral thesis of Aitor San Francisco. “Framework For The Analysis Of The Life Cycle Of Remanufactured Products. Application To The Environmental Impact Of Servomotors”.

Dynamisamization of new initiatives

ACEDE began its activity with the analysis of Circular Economy Business Models for induction cookers. In 2017 the Emmaus Gipuzkoa Foundation and ACEDE began a mutual collaboration, with a study to build an alliance to develop a pilot project for the creation of a “Preparation Centre for the Re-use of household appliances in Gipuzkoa”.

An appliance recovery centre is a complex circular economy activity that has involved innovations in different areas. The process of rethinking the value chain of second-hand household appliances, the generation of a protocol for the diagnosis and reconditioning of household appliances, and the study of business models for second-hand household appliances are just a few of these areas. None of this could have happened without the creation of new legislation for the recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment in 2016. The concept allows the resale of reconditioned devices at affordable prices, generating new jobs, and thus enabling the reintegration of people currently excluded from this market.

Over the years, the Department of Economic Promotion of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council has financed various projects related to this initiative, which also included the Gipuzkoan cooperative Sareteknika, a state benchmark in the repair of household appliances.

The status of progress of the project, today, is as follows. The Recovery Center pilot is underway.Used washing machines are diagnosed, reconditioned, functional tests are carried out and put up for sale again. The recovery of kitchen hobs will also be included in the process shortly. Given the track record in remanufacturing, the Mondragon Promotion Centre came to ACEDE with a possible business opportunity for diversification in the field of remanufacturing and the circular economy in the industrial field. A dynamic was carried out to explore the possibilities for Mondragon companies and a dynamic of rapprochement between the interested companies of the cluster, Mondragon Componentes and Sareteknika, and the company that provides technology and knowledge in the new field of application, Exxita Be Circular. From this intensive dynamic, the potential common interest of the parties, the available resources and the will to create a new common company were identified: CIRCULAR REPLAY. On February 3, 2023, this new company was created with the participation of Mondragon Componentes, Mondragon and Exxita Be Circular.

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Research with users: purchase perception

The current status of project progress is as follows. The Recovery Centre pilot is
underway. Used washing machines are diagnosed
and functional tests carried out. Several tests have also been undertaken
with users who analyse the potential positioning of reconditioned washing machines
in the market through financing from the European project

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