How an industrial company can look after the environment!

How an industrial company can look after the environment!

I’m currently in my last year of an apprentiship at the company BELIMO Automation AG. I have liked the enterprise since I started working here because they have such a great work atmosphere and culture. I’m not obligated to wear a suit and i can talk with all employees normally, which means I can use their prenames whilst talking to them, even if they have a high position in the hierarchy. The company also is very engaged in looking after the environment. In this post I will list the things BELIMO does to be ecological.

How the products of Belimo help the environment

The products of Belimo Automation AG are sold in over 70 countries all over the world. The main business consists of producing and selling actuators (Antriebe, Motoren), which regulate heating and ventilation. But how can these actuators help the environment?

Around 40 % of the used energy come from the building technology (Gebäudetechnik, resp. Heizung/Lüftung), so there is a huge possibility to reduce the used energy in this business. Since explaining how these actuators actually work is really difficult, I will try to explain how they are good for the environment by using an example.

The american company Land O’Lakes Inc. in Arden Hills, Minnesota is one of the biggest global agricultural businesses. In 2014, they realized that the temperatures were not high enough in winter and were too high in summer because the heating was not functioning properly and their heating pumps were not used efficiently.

This is an example of one of our products that have been installed at Land O'Lakes.
This is an example of one of our products that have been installed at Land O’Lakes.

They are a very eco-friendly company, so when they were planning on rebuilding their headquarters, they installed Belimo actuators in their heating system. Because our actuators realize when the pump presses too much water through the system and signal the pump to reduce the amount of water, the pump could be used more efficiently. Hence it used less energy (-15 % of the energy of the building) than before and simultaneously fixed the temperatures in the building.

paperless office

An archive filled with thousands of folders with ten year old documents inside used to be normal. But with the possibilities technology grants us nowadays it should be possible to overcome this cliché. Belimo is currently working on archiving as much as we can electronically. For example, the purchasing already implemented a system which makes it possible to print a lot less than before. Other departments are working on similar projects, such as the accounting who are reducing to print bills. This has led to minimal use of paper and it will be reduced even more in the future.

In the graph above you can see how our use of paper per employee has been going down each year. To put this into perspective, one piece of paper usually weighs around 5 grams. This means that one employee used 1600 A4 paper sheets which is about 800 less than the year before.
In the graph above you can see how our use of paper per employee has been going down each year. To put this into perspective, one piece of paper usually weighs around 5 grams. This means that in 2017 one employee used 1600 A4 paper sheets which is about 800 less than the year before.

Materials

When choosing the Materials for our products we try to use the least amount of environment damaging materials as possible such as paint or lacquer (Lack). We follow the guidelines ISO 14001 and RoHS II which forbid the use of materials that are bad for the environment. Not only we are motivated to stick to these guidelines, but our suppliers are obligated to follow them too. We use reusable cardboard (Karton) for our packaging as well, hence we don’t have to throw it away after it has been used once. If it gets damaged after it has been used a few times, it gets recycled. We have different stations all over the building to leave used cardboard, which get emptied every week.

In the graph above you can see how much of our waste is reusable and how much waste gets burned in the KeZo. In 2017 the percentage of renewable waste was 70 %, which is higher than the years before.
In the graph above you can see how much of our waste is reusable and how much waste gets burned in the KeZo. In 2017 the percentage of renewable waste was 70 %, which is higher than the years before.

Long-distance heating and powering our building

In the paragraph above i mentioned the nearby waste disposal KeZo and that we deliver them over 200 tons of waste each year. Most of this waste gets burned. As everybody knows fire comes with heat. Heat creates energy. For that energy not to get lost, BELIMO has made a deal with KeZo that we will buy this otherwise unused energy and use it to power our own building. Hence the circle of the waste is complete.

We have also installed multiple solar panels on our newly built logistics building, which provide a lot of energy day by day as well.

Bike2Work

Belimo takes part in the Bike2Work programme, in which the employees go to work with their bike instead of their car. This reduces a lot of the CO2 emissions by the cars. The programme is not obligatory, but there have been a lot of participants each year.

In 2017, there were over 130 employees just in Hinwil who took part in this action. These 130 people drove 33000 km for the whole month of June and therefore saved more than 4.5 tons of CO2 emission, which is quite impressive.

Summary

There are so many ways for a company to save energy and reduce the damage to the ecology. Some of the ideas Belimo is doing are definitely helpful but there are other possibilities like promoting cars that use reusable energy like electricity and use them for transport instead of airfreight which would reduce the CO2-emissions even more. It’s a really important part to be successful as an Enterprise, even though the ecolgical programme of an Enterprise can’t always be executed perfectly.

I’d love to learn about some other possibilities for companies to be ecological. If you can think of any other ones or know that a company practices them you could write a comment to add some more ideas.

Marc S.

Sources

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One thought on “How an industrial company can look after the environment!

  1. The near halving of paper consumption in four years is quite impressive and also the example of reducing energy consumption of a building. It would be interesting to calculate the world wide potential to reduce energy wasting, paper and other resources.

    I also work in an office with a flat hierarchy, a small one, not more than 5 people. Our office is near lake Zurich. There is an air conditioning system for summer time but we decided not to use it. Instead we are allowed to jump into the lake “at any time” 🙂 takes max 10 mins and I feel really powered afterwards! & AC makes me sick.

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