Interview with Mr. Adam Hernas

Adam Hernas, PhD, Assistant Professor at Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu – National Louis University in Nowy Sącz

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You are a lawyer by education. So why the interest in the field of renewable energy sources and its production?

I have been interested in issues related to electricity since my high school years. I am a graduate of the Mechanical and Electrical School Complex in Żywiec with the professional title of an electrician. Therefore, I am well acquainted with the operation of equipment using electrical energy generated from various sources. I still remember from that time, for example, our class trip to Porąbka – Żar Power Plant. It is one of the few pumped-storage facilities in Poland that generate electrical energy using water energy for this purpose. It was then my first encounter with facilities operating on the basis of RES. Regarding the later years, the interest in the generation of energy from renewable energy sources in a broad meaning has yet developed in my doctoral studies. During this time I also completed post-graduate studies at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts of Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University in the field of energy audit for the needs of thermal insulation and energy assessment of buildings and I obtained permission to issue energy performance certificates of buildings. For this purpose I established my own business and I carried out energy-related advisory services within its frame. Having obtained the doctoral degree in law, however, had put my professional life on a different track and after several years of running the business I decided to close it and to continue pursuing my interests in the field of academic research. I find my employment on the position of Assistant Professor at Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu – National Louis University in Nowy Sącz very helpful in this respect. Hence, it becomes clear that in my case the interest in renewable energy goes hand in hand with my educational background. What’s more, this subject is directly related to issues regulated by the provision of the Construction Law, which is a part of Substantive Administrative Law, i.e. the section of Administrative Law to which I have devoted my present academic activity.

As part of your academic activity, you deal with energy consulting, the purpose of which is to help in the implementation of innovative solutions aimed at the improvement of the energy quality of buildings. Do entrepreneurs often ask for these kind of implementations? What can they gain from them?

As a university lecturer I had the pleasure to conduct a course related to EU and national energy policy and the use of RES which, in my opinion, was very well received. During the course, my trainees have often asked me interesting and challenging questions as well as shared their own views and experiences related to the present and future approach to the utilisation of renewable energy sources in various areas of life. What’s more, due to the fact that I am also a coach, last year I run the course “Energy Audit” dedicated to people who actively search for a job and for this reason they wish to gain a new profession or new skills. I was also invited by the management of the Vocational Training Centre in Żywiec to conduct the training for construction sector entrepreneurs, organised by the Continuing Vocational Training Unit in Katowice within the scope of the project called: “Construction of Low Energy House”. Also in this case, my lecture titled: “Energy Efficiency of Buildings in European Law” attracted a lot of attention. The questions asked by the entrepreneurs let me to the conclusion that the subject of energy-saving housing and renewable energy installations in this type of buildings is both important and relevant to them.

How can taking care of energy efficiency be turned into savings for residents of energy-efficient buildings?

Energy efficiency, in the simplest meaning, is the effective use of energy in its various forms. In the case of energy-efficient building it is mainly about highest possible savings of thermal energy used for heating or cooling of the building, as well as for the production of domestic hot water. One should not forget, however, that each household also consumes electric energy as it is equipped in various types of electric devices and installations. Hence, the materials, equipment and installations used in energy-efficient buildings should be characterised by the highest energy class and best parameters of thermal insulation. That is why it is clear that correctly understood improvement of energy efficiency of buildings may lead to real savings for buildings’ owners providing these buildings are energy-efficient, i.e. they consume much less energy than traditional or energy-intensive ones and they are equipped with devices and installations (including RES) having the best features.

You are the author of the program of post-diploma studies on energy management, as well as of the course on energy audit. Is there still a need for this kind of trainings in your opinion?

From December 20017, Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu – National Luis University in Nowy Sącz is a signatory of the letter of intent, in which it declares willingness to join the Regional Renewable Energy Cluster in Nowy Sącz. Within the frame of the signed letter, the University has expressed its intent to cooperate with the Cluster in such areas as: trainings and education related to the use of RES as well as auditing and energy efficiency certification. This is a proof that the topics of skilful energy management on the local level will not cease to be valid through the following years. What is more, as a person authorised to represent WSB-NLU in the Cluster’s activities and as an author of the post-diploma studies “Energy management in local government units” I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I have already received enquiries regarding the possibility of modification of the studies program for other target groups, the business sector in particular.

As of today, what is the level of ecological awareness of the society and what can be done in order to improve it?

Thank you for this question because it pertains to one of my articles, which followed the scientific conference held in Tarnów in October 2016. My lecture at this conference was addressed to the wide audience, including the representatives of science and of local communities attending the conference and to young people who were especially invited there as well as to my dedicated students. I have then emphasized that the energy efficiency is a multidimensional subject, which can be approached from different angles, including the pursue of educational goals, i.e. the influence of energy efficiency on building the ecological awareness of the society. In my opinion, the correct approach to the issue of energy efficiency can contribute to rational and sustainable use of energy in its all forms. Therefore, every possible effort and attempt should be made to shape the desirable pro-ecological attitudes in the society. I can conclude based on my observations that such efforts should be in the first place directed to the young generation as the responsibility of deciding about future development of the Earth will soon lie in their hands.

In your opinion, are such initiatives like Energy Forum helpful and should be developed? To whom these kinds of projects should be addressed?

In my lectures I often emphasize that every forum, seminar, training, class or conference is a very good place and opportunity to discuss various kinds of burning issues and to get involved in initiatives related to them. It has long been known that these kinds of meetings often create a platform for fruitful and meaningful debates, and activities related to them promote innovation and strengthen cooperation between different social groups and communities. The Central European Energy Forum – Energy CEE Day is an example of such activities. The objective of the Forum is to foster innovation and strengthen cooperation between science and business and to promote the offer of the Małopolska region in the scope of sustainable energy at home and abroad. That is why the project is at first addressed to companies that run or are planning to run activities in this field. However, in my opinion we should not forget that the entrepreneurs are not the only group operating in the region of Małopolska. This is why such initiatives should also be addressed to other target groups, and to young people in particular – both those at the universities and those receiving their education at high and vocational schools.

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