Use of resources
Innovation, high quality standards and improvement are our top priority: This not only applies to our products and manufacturing processes, it also applies to our use of resources and to closing loops. We consider the entire life cycle, from procurement to recycling the whole product, if possible. We lay the basis for the efficient use of raw materials as we develop our products. We ensure that resources are used effectively in our processes and strive to minimise the environmental impact.
At EU level, the "European Green Deal" was introduced in 2019 with the aim of establishing a circular economy. We are also playing our part and have been using various measures to create closed loops for decades.
Electricity from hydropower in all our Vorarlberg plants
Since 2018, all the electricity for all 8 of our plants in Vorarlberg has been sourced solely from hydraulic power stations in Austria. As a company, we made a conscious decision to use this form of hydropower, as here, the CO2 emissions per kWh are many times lower than our previous electricity supply. By making the change, we were able to reduce the company's total carbon footprint by more than 40%: This is equivalent to 15,000 flights from Vienna to New York, or driving 95,000,000 km in a medium-sized car. So we deliberately made an early decision about this type of power supply.
District heating keeps Dornbirn warm
Since the start of 2020, we have connected to a district heating system in the immediate vicinity to source the energy to heat Plants 7 and 8 in Dornbirn. Thanks to the heat exchanger, we no longer need fossil fuels. What's more, excess heat is fed back into the grid and made available to other consumers. As a result, we save 160 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 25 households.
Heat recovery in production
We have been recovering heat from ventilation air for years. 95% of our ventilation systems have already been fitted with suitable equipment. We are also continually optimising the utilisation of waste heat from the production of compressed air. This will save us more than 15,200 megawatt hours of energy. Overall, this adds up to a saving of 2.26 million m³ of natural gas, which is equivalent to the gas consumption for heating purposes of 1,614 family homes. We also feed 430 MWh into the district heating grid.
A closed zinc loop
We use zinc to produce component parts for our products. The primary zinc production process is energy and CO2-intensive, which is why we have developed a loop that makes efficient use of resources. Zinc sprues that arise during the die casting process are fed directly back to the machines or melted in our in-house remelting furnace. From this, we create new raw material again, so that on average, 85% of waste material is fed back into the process. As well as saving resources, the advantage of in-house recycling is that the zinc waste does not have to be transported and is re-available more rapidly. We cannot recycle the remaining material − about 70 tons a year − ourselves, due to soiling. This is processed by our recycling partner and supplier, who turns our zinc waste back into high-quality zinc under the highest environmental standards. We also procure our raw material from them. Therefore, in terms of sustainability, this results in a closed zinc loop internally and in collaboration with our external partner.