Member of the Climate Alliance Austria
Facing climate change together
The climate is getting serious, so are we. European municipalities, companies and indigenous communities are uniting under the umbrella of the Climate Alliance to fight climate change in a determined and responsible way. As a member of this global initiative, we are working on this task, committing ourselves to ambitious, verifiable objectives.
Companies need to take responsibility
To make sure no one can simply rely on other’s achievements when it comes to climate protection, we need to build communities, to act in concert across countries, continents and stakeholders. Therefore, since 2014, we have been a member of the Climate Alliance Austria where entrepreneurship and climate protection go hand in hand. To us, sustainability is of the utmost importance, even if this means spending money.
The Climate Alliance objective
The Climate Alliance envisions a world where climate protection is a natural course of action, where resources are equally divided, and people are social-minded and responsible towards the environment and the economy. The Climate Alliance’s consultants accompany organizations on their way. It is not about sanctions, but about creating an awareness for the problem and motivating people and companies to enjoy taking action. This voluntary approach is extremely successful. More than 1,100 companies are now part of the Climate Alliance Austria.
We share the objectives of the Climate Alliance because we want to become the most sustainable company in our industry. Our high performance concrete FILCOTEN® HPC is only one example. Other measures included cooperating with the ecological printing company gugler, taking part in the appeal to the Austrian government, meeting environmental management requirements in line with ISO 14001 or switching to 100 % green energy. You will soon hear more about the last two topics.
Taking a close look at the company
In the course of cooperating with the Climate Alliance Austria, one of the organization’s consultants visits the company grounds and discusses with the management to analyze the production, the fleet, the energy supply, the motivation of employees, etc. After that, the company’s carbon and energy footprints are determined. This is allocated per capita, which means it also considers growth. The possibility of funding is also discussed.
Subsequently, the consultant draws up a report to show the hidden potentials for climate protection. Is it possible to switch the fleet to hybrid or electric vehicles? How can we improve the insulation of our buildings? Is it possible to save energy when heating? The consultant presents the answers to these and similar questions during a second meeting. In coordination with the companies, these ideas are included in a set of measures, and divided into three practically applicable stages.
The three stages
- Which measures are free or very low-cost? They should be worked on first. Astonishingly, a lot is already achieved by a change in behavior.
Georg Spiekermann (Climate Alliance Austria):It starts with creating an awareness for the problem, followed by structures and responsibilities that introduce a change in behavior.
As an example, this includes simple things such as posting instructions on intensive airing, disconnecting power hogs, closing air trap doors, etc.
- Which smaller investments are available for a more efficient consumption? Lighting is one of the most common factors in this stage. Modern lighting devices can significantly contribute to energy saving.
- Which larger investments can be made to become even more sustainable? Once stages 1 and 2 are completed, the company moves on to these considerations. This includes replacing production plants, switching to different energy suppliers or building photovoltaic plants.
What has been implemented at BG-Graspointner?
By switching to FILCOTEN®, we were able to significantly reduce our CO2 output. On the one hand, because the production of the predecessor material, concrete, produced considerably more carbon dioxide. On the other hand, because FILCOTEN® weighs significantly less, producing less CO2 during transport.
When we first became part of the Climate Alliance, cooling our server room made up three-quarters of our office building’s energy consumption. We were able to reduce the consumption to 0.7 kWh by a simple measure: we divided the server room in two with a wall. The back of the IT equipment on the one side is placed directly on the wall, emitting hot air into the other part of the room through openings. In this way, the devices stay cooler and need significantly less energy to keep their temperature down.
With the growth of our company, our absolute energy consumption has also increased. However, the CO2 equivalent of our total consumption was reduced. Additional measures included checking and maintaining the insulation of our buildings as well as switching to refillable printing cartridges to avoid waste. We have a number of exciting measures planned for stage 3. You will find out more when the time comes.
Climate protection depends on the mindset
Like all change processes within a company, climate protection cannot simply be ordered from above. Despite increasing weather extremes, the threat is still relatively abstract. This is nothing new to Georg Spiekermann (consultant of the Climate Alliance Austria) and Norbert Rainer (regional manager of the Climate Alliance Austria). Therefore, their organization actively contributes to reinforcing awareness for the topic in the minds of all employees – without lecturing.
This can take place in various ways. Motivating the workforce often starts with a festive company event with presentations, announcing the agreed objectives.