At every stage of production, environmental awareness has remained a core value of Habasit. We have recently been excited to take this to the next level at our Reinach location with new long term and sustainable standards for CO2 and energy emission reduction.
A global initiative
In response to the Kyoto Protocol initiated by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, Switzerland committed to reduce emissions by 20-30% by 2020. With even higher hopes for the not so distant future, the country has a target of 70-85% emissions reduction by 2050. A national and global movement in this direction could mean a significant change for the planet, a change in which Habasit is finding ways to take part.
In 2013, the company decided to voluntarily participate in a government supported path to CO2 reduction. The Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector (EnAW) worked closely with Habasit to determine potential areas for CO2 and energy reduction. With a shared commitment to transparency and global responsibility, the EnAW and Habasit reached a target agreement for drastically reduced emissions by 2020.
The air we breathe
Contributing to a cleaner environment means more than just receiving a certificate of climate protection. Habasit knew that in order to meet their deadline, rigorous goals would be required. Every step of production was re-evaluated and new initiatives set in place. To become more globally responsible, Habasit understood that it meant becoming more locally aware.
“We are motivated because we work here”, says Thomas Gutwald, the Head of Product Divisions. “This is the air we breathe every day. If you don’t pay attention to the details, then you don’t see the big picture.”
One of the major projects that Habasit will undertake is the future installation of two hot water boilers which will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 315 tons per year. While the Swiss government usually charges 84 francs per ton of the CO2 emitted, this fee is waived when a company voluntarily takes part in the reduction program. This means that Habasit can significantly cut costs and reinvest the savings into the production of quality products.
Another important development for Habasit was the increased implementation of heat recovery. The heat generated by air compressors is now efficiently used for space and water heating. Compressed air can be one of the most expensive utilities in a factory, and finding ways to recycle the heat it produces makes a major difference in environmentally-friendly production.
Air compressor leakages are a common source of energy loss. Since compressors are often set at artificially high pressures to compensate for leakage or pressure fluctuations, the average air compressor has a waste of 25-35%. Habasit has made simple pipe maintenance a priority to avoid these unnecessary losses.
These are just a few examples of the many initiatives that Habasit has taken, not to mention the company’s preference for using 100% hydroelectric energy whenever possible to avoid gas or fuel oil. There is no end date for the growth that Habasit envisions for a greener future.
A mindset of green
One can walk through any building of the Reinach factory and see evidence of the changes that are underway. Even the LED lamps in the hallways are equipped with movement sensors in order to avoid energy waste.
“It’s about creating a mindset.” says Gutwald. “More and more customers are interested not only in what we produce, but how we produce it. This is a question that I believe will become increasingly relevant, and Habasit is ready to answer it.”
Gutwald explains that Habasit goes beyond the limits of legal obligation to contribute to a larger global and sustainable strategy of climate preservation. It is a project that fits easily with the values that have shaped Habasit into what it is today: a company committed to quality, integrity and care. (ST)