Climate change mitigation & air emissions

Inherent to the environmental management system is also the monitoring, goal setting and reduction of our emissions.

Controlling and reducing carbon emissions

Responsibilities for the goal-setting, implementation, monitoring and follow-up is identical to the overall responsibilities regarding the environmental management system.

Actions to further reduce Elia’s CO2 emissions are mostly targeting areas such as: mobility (car fleet for its employees); improved energy performance of its buildings, and reducing material use, e.g. reduction of paper consumption.

Elia has been conducting a carbon assessment since 2010 to identify direct and indirect emissions from its activities in Belgium and is taking steps to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its activities.

Our Carbon Footprint

In 2019, the boundary of the Carbon assessment will be broadened (it will also include the emissions in Germany) and the methodology and goals will be reviewed. The data for 2018 will be calculated in accordance with the new methodology and reported in the annual report for 2019.

A first approximation of the 2018 emissions is given by the data calculated in 2017. The total emissions for the following companies ESO, EA and EE were estimated at 368,439 Teq CO2.

The scope of the current carbon assessment covers the following aspects:

“Grid losses and SF6 represent the biggest share of Elia’s carbon emissions.”

Grid losses are the difference between the amount of electricity entering the Elia grid and the amount of electricity supplied. Grid losses are directly related to the amount of electricity transmitted over long distances. Opportunities to reduce grid losses are very limited.

1 Scope 1

  • leasing and utility vehicle fleet, refrigerant gas losses, gas consumption

2 Scope 2

  • Energy consumption (sites, high-voltage substations), grid infrastructure (overhead lines, underground cables, substations)

3 Scope 3

  • Commuting, mission, visitors, IT equipment, consumption of paper and ink, waste, food and vehicles


SF6 gas has been used for over 30 years as an electrical insulator in high-voltage devices, including gas-insulated switchgear (GIS). GIS is often used in densely populated areas because it is much more compact when compared to traditional switchgear that uses air as an insulator.

Elia has developed an investment and maintenance policy to reduce the risk of SF6 leakage. Manufacturers must guarantee a very stringent maximum percentage of SF6 loss throughout the lifetime of the facilities.

The maintenance policy aims to keep operations involving compartments filled with SF6 to a minimum. Consumption of SF6 gas (as a replacement and as a top-up in the event of a leak) is closely monitored using a system that tracks each cylinder of SF6.

  2017  2018 
Volume of SF6 gas installed in the Elia grid (36 kV to 380 kV inclusive, excluding the NEMO substation) - tonnes   98 111,9 
SF6 leak rate for all Elia facilities - percentage  0,59 0,34 

Sustainable buildings

To reduce the energy consumption of our administrative buildings, Elia conducts energy audits and has developed a number of sustainability projects. The administrative sites have a green energy contract for gas and electricity.

Innovative technologies & environmental-friendly materials

The first of these sustainability projects is the Dispatching building at the Avenue de Vilvorde, which has an area of approximately 4,000 m². This building is an example of sustainable development due to the implementation of innovative energy technologies (gas consumption virtually reduced to nothing, electricity consumption reduced by 40%, CO2 emissions reduced by 45%, a green roof, rainwater recovery, etc.) and the use of environmentally-friendly materials (cork floor insulation, polyethylene piping, fibreglass and hemp partitions, FSC-certified wood, natural paint, etc.).

BREEAM certification

Two new sites awarded 'Very Good' certification by BREEAM have been built: Elia Monnoyer in the Brussels Capital Region and Elia Crealys in the Walloon Region. This rating is awarded to buildings which are healthy to live or work in, have low levels of grey energy (energy necessary for the life cycle of material or a product from production to recycling), do not consume much water and where land is developed in a way which respects biodiversity. Furthermore, in 2017, the Crealys site also received PMP certification, the passive building certificate.

All renovations and refurbishments at our sites are carried out with a view to reducing energy consumption (minimising the need for lighting, installing detectors, optimising the heating system, etc.). The Monnoyer site is fitted with 4,500 m² of photovoltaic panels that supply the building with energy.

High-voltage substations

A new automatic system for switching heating on and off operated via mobile phone has been installed in 25 of our 600 high-voltage substations to reduce heating consumption. This system means that substations will be warm enough when staff arrive but keep the level of heating down when nobody is in the building.

Reducing air emissions: intelligent mobility for Elia staff

Air emissions (such as SOx and NOx) are not material to Elia. However, as some air emissions still are being produced, they are in scope of the environmental management system, and thus monitored. The two main sources of potential air emissions:

  • Mobility

    Emissions coming from vehicles leased by Elia for its employees as part of their competitive salaries.

  • Standby power system at substations

    800 substations are equipped with standby diesel generators, which are running once per year in testing mode.

In order to improve the overall environmental performance and to reduce the air emissions that still occur, Elia launched a mobility improvement plan in November 2011. It covers a wide range of actions intended to facilitate trips made by employees, including both commuting and travel during working hours. These actions include the lending of bikes for journeys between railway stations and the workplace, the promotion of transit offices enabling employees to work close to home, the promotion of teleconferencing tools, the provision of electric vehicles and pool cars, and other measures.

Flexible mobility solutions

Congestion on the roads and the time wasted as a result are a strong argument for introducing a different approach to mobility. In addition to offering staff the option to work remotely, Elia is continuing to apply its sustainable mobility policy, which aims to limit journeys and offer a flexible, varied range of solutions for getting to work or travelling for other professional reasons.

Elia's mobility policy, particularly comprehensive in the Brussels Capital Region, focuses on three main areas:

  • Travel less

    promoting teleworking or the use of transit offices at other Elia sites, holding videoconferences between Brussels and Berlin, developing IT tools suitable for teleworking, and so on.

  • Use other means of transport

    promoting the use of means of transport other than cars (bicycles, public transport, carpooling), providing showers, changing rooms, suitable car parks, bicycles for rent and shared cars, and so on.

  • Consume less

    introducing a CO2 limit and Ecoscore threshold for service vehicles, promoting the use of hybrid, plug-in or electric cars, providing combination options with bicycles and so on. The average ecoscore of the Elia Vans fleet is 55. The average Ecoscore of the Elia Company Cars (leasing) fleet is 64. The average CO2 emissions of the Company Cars fleet is 114 g/km.

CDP response

Since 2017, Elia has participated in the CDP, an international, not-for-profit organisation providing a global system for companies, investors and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share environmental information. For climate change, a company’s score is made up of two factors:

  • the level of detail and the comprehensiveness of its responses
  • it’s awareness of climate issues, management methods and its progress on acting on climate change.

For Belgium, Elia’s Supplier Engagement Rating for 2018 is B.

Year  Program  Status  Score 
2018 Climate Change 2018 Submitted  B-
2017 Climate Change 2017  Submitted  C
2016  Climate Change 2016  Not Submitted  F
2015  Climate Change 2015  Declined to participate Not Available
2014  Climate Change 2014  No response  Not Available

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