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Almada – Lisboa e Vale do Tejo – Portugal


"Sustainability begins at home"

This administrative building houses three different local services: the Environmental Planning Department, an ’Ecolibrary’ and the Local Energy Management Agency of Almada, which aims to raise local awareness of energy efficiency and environmental issues.


Situated in a central location of and within easy access for the City of Almada, the building had already housed municipal services prior to its refurbishment.Essential to the refurbishment process was the need to maintain the building’s original architectural design features, and to incorporate energy and environmental concerns – to match both the aims of Almada’s Local Agenda 21 process and the aims of the organisations it houses.

Building details

Type of building: Administrative; mortar and stone construction
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours: 1930s; 777m2 floor area; operating hours from 9h00 to 18h00
Heating and cooling / measures installed Efficient lighting system; double glazed windows; thermal insulation; natural gas direct-fired absorption chiller; natural gas water boiler
Energy label/CO2 emissions For 2005 the rating for energy consumption was A, B for CO2 emissions, and C for water consumption


Aim Following the implementation of Local Agenda 21 in Almada, this building was refurbished with the aim of providing an appropriately energy- and environment-conscious home for the Environmental Planning Department, Ecolibrary and the Local Energy Management Agency of Almada.
Key points Experts involved in the refurbishment of the building had previously participated in the implementation of Almada’s Local Agenda 21 and in the creation of the Local Energy Agency, AGENEAL. Additional expertise was accessed through contacts made with Portugal’s National Energy Agency to help identify and implement the most innovative technological solutions for the Casa Municipal do Ambiente.Apart from participation in the Display campaign, the energy-saving and other environmentally friendly achievements of the refurbishment were disseminated through the production and distribution of leaflets, made available from all municipal service providers. The implementation and dissemination of the refurbishment is one of a number of local sustainable energy projects, ranging from the improvement of public lighting, energy performance assessments of public buildings and promotion of sustainable mobility, to maintaining a local greenhouse gas emissions inventory and the provision of an energy information desk for households and businesses.
Reason for inclusion as Shining Example This building was refurbished implementing innovative energy efficiency measures in each of the main ‘sectors’: building envelope, lights and appliances, and heating/cooling. For the building envelope, thermal insulation was applied to the roof and double glazed windows were installed. There is also a new efficient lighting system, with both movement/occupancy sensors and daylight sensors based on a photo-electrically controlled dimming circuit and TL5 fluorescent lamps. The air conditioning system is a natural gas direct-fired absorption chiller for cold water production, coupled with a natural gas hot water boiler. The building also benefits from good natural ventilation, which brings cool air from the shady back of the building through several entrances which can be left open according to need.


Costs &


The refurbishment of the Casa Municipal do Ambiente was fully funded by the local authority.
Benefits The main benefits are the reduction of energy (electricity and natural gas) and water consumption.


Partnership details The partners in the refurbishment project were the local authority (City Council of Almada, funders, project leaders), the Local Energy Management Agency of Almada (AGENEAL, advisors) and the National Energy Agency (ADENE, advisors). The partnership was established within the framework of Local Agenda 21 in Almada.


Achievements The framework for monitoring and evaluation is comprehensive, incorporating heat metering, monthly energy readings and a full biannual assessment – graphically evaluated – of the energy performance, displayed in the building. This is strongly communicated in internal coordination meetings, and as a result has contributed to a high level of environmental and energy awareness amongst the staff, as well as to helping to identify new energy-saving opportunities over time. This establishes the motto that “sustainability begins at home”, which ensures that from the outset provides a positive example for visitors and other municipal staff.
Lessons Learned Active measures, such as the lighting control system installed, have proven very effective. Overall, the approach taken for the Casa Municipal do Ambiente is considered a successful one, with other local services – planning small interventions – taking this building as an example to follow in order to replicate its success.At the time of refurbishment, the technologies used had not been widely implemented. As a result, it took some time to optimally adjust the installed equipment to the building’s requirements. Visits to buildings with similar technologies already installed would have helped to achieve smoother implementation.

To know more



AGENEAL (Agência Municipal de Energia de Almada)
Contact Elisabete Serra
Phone +351 212 72 23 80

Useful info

Publications A Casa Municipal do Ambiente (The Environmental Municipal House), March 2000
Arrangements to visit Address: Rua Bernardo Francisco da Costa, 44, 2800-099 Almada, PORTUGAL

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