ABB emissions reductions beat expectations in Switzerland


Source: ABB

When Switzerland agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent in the two decades through 2010, ABB set out to meet the same goal in its local operations. Part five of our series on saving energy in our own facilities shows that the actual savings achieved have been more than five times bigger.

ABB's CO2 emissions in Switzerland have been reduced by about 55 percent, or 10,000 tons per year - from 18,000 tons in 1990 to 8,000 tons today - thanks to measures ranging from building refurbishments to upgrading factory equipment. ABB has saved an average 2 million Swiss francs ($1.96 million) per year as a result, more than twice as much as it spent on the measures.

“The savings potential was bigger than we had expected,” said Remo Kuery, Sustainability Manager for ABB in Switzerland. “Efforts to cut emissions are continuing, and we now expect the reduction to reach 60 percent by 2010.”

Many ABB technologies help customers to use energy more efficiently, and ABB in 2007 completed a two-year program to reduce the Group’s energy consumption by 5 percent per manufactured unit.

The biggest improvements in terms of environmental impact made by ABB in Switzerland were achieved by:

  • Optimizing buildings and infrastructure, which included insulating facades and roofs; replacing windows; refurbishing building systems such as lighting, heating and air-conditioning; and recycling heat from compressors for room heating.
  • Replacing the vehicle fleet with diesel cars fitted with particulate filters.
  • Improving the efficiency of turbochargers through measures that included optimizing fuel usage.

The annual reduction to date is equivalent to the emissions of about 4,200 passenger cars on the streets of Switzerland.*

The ABB sites in Switzerland have all experienced the direct and indirect benefits of dedicating themselves to the environment. The direct benefits include lower energy costs due to the reduction in fuel requirements, tax incentives, electricity discounts and certification from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

The indirect benefits include raising awareness of environmental issues among employees, which helps to perpetuate and multiply energy-saving initiatives throughout the business.

In addition to this program, ABB in Switzerland has agreed with the Swiss government to reduce electricity consumption by 6 percent between 2006 and 2010 - and is well on its way to achieving this target.

ABB in Switzerland has six specific goals to lower its environmental impact, as well as monitoring and measurement programs for each. The goals are to reduce the use of prohibited and restricted substances; cut power consumption by 6 percent; cut CO2 emissions; run educational campaigns for employees; evaluate suppliers according to sustainability criteria; and increase the diversity of animal species in areas around its facilities

* The average CO2 emissions for cars on the road in Europe is 160g/km and the average number of km traveled per year for each car is 15,000, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

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