Energy and Climate - Sustainability Report 2018/2019

Intro Energy and Climate

We enamel our ovens at over 800°C, need energy to power our automated systems, use all kinds of different materials and cause waste in our value-added processes. Although our products consume far more energy when used by customers than during their manufacture, we are working constantly to reduce the environmental impact of our sites. 

Carbon neutrality: our aim
Reducing CO2 emissions is a focus of our commitment to sustainability and, in the long term, we want to become carbon neutral not just for our own operations at the Zug site, but for the whole Technology Cluster Zug (TCZ). Consequently, V-ZUG is a participant in the Energy Agency for the Swiss Private Sector and has signed a target agreement with the Confederation. Furthermore, we continue to pay a voluntary levy to Metall Zug for CO2 emissions caused, amounting to CHF 120 per tonne of CO2

Autonomous and networked: the Multi-Energy Hub
The low-CO2 and largely autonomous Multi-Energy Hub (MEH) is intended in future to supply the Technology Cluster Zug and surrounding users with as much locally renewable energy as possible from photovoltaics, groundwater and lake water. To increase energy efficiency, the MEH is being developed according to the principle of sector coupling. We are nearing the step-by-step commissioning of the MEH from 2020 onwards. The receipt of the licence to use two groundwater sources on the site and the ordering of a photovoltaic unit for the new Zephyr Hangar are the latest milestones.

Higher productivity on less space
Reducing our footprint on our main site in the city of Zug is enabling the TCZ to be created and goes hand in hand with an overhaul of our operating system. Verticalizing production while also optimizing processes means that, in future, we will need only around 40% of the space we currently occupy. The new buildings meet stringent sustainability standards and, with the new press, we will soon be able to significantly increase energy efficiency in the production process.

Our waste: 80% recyclable
Waste is generated in our production, development, logistics and administrative processes. We constantly rethink our waste process and, with the new V-ZUG operating system, are taking a big step towards optimized waste separation and automated disposal. However, we are also implementing optimizations on a smaller scale: now, for example, V-ZUG employees stir their coffee with wooden sticks and use a centralized printing system.

Graphic: Prof. Dr. Gian-Luca Bona, Director Empa

Stories Energy and Climate

175 tonnes of innovation
The night of 12 to 13 June 2019 was a busy one at our head office in Zug. The new press, a centrepiece of the future production facilities, had arrived on time after one week in heavy haulage. The press is extremely innovative in many respects and replaces a combination of several presses and robots in the existing production plant. Relocating the pressing plant to the north site frees up space for the Technology Cluster Zug (TCZ). Some production steps, such as tool changing, will soon be much faster and enable smaller batch sizes and highly efficient working methods.

“The new press is all-singing and all-dancing. The built-in servo motors enable energy efficiency to be increased by up to 30 %”, Roland Häfliger explains with pride. The electric servo motors replace the hydraulic drive and allow optimized energy consumption. This is because the transfer bars, which are similar to the part that connects the wheels of a locomotive, transport the parts for processing through the production process. The faster up-stroke of the ram and slower forming process itself mean that the production step is both faster and more controlled overall. “The new press affirms a bold commitment to Zug as an industrial location, expresses our innovativeness and marks a milestone towards sustainable production – for the economy, society and environment here in Zug”, Roland Häfliger concludes.

Print-2-me: central, shared yet private
Since early 2019, a new printing system has been helping us to save paper and electricity in our daily routine. Print-2-me temporarily saves print jobs, which can then be printed with a personal badge on any printer at almost all V-ZUG Switzerland sites. “This safeguards confidentiality when handling sensitive information, which in the past has often been an argument against central printers”, explains project manager Ernst Stecher. Moreover, as part of the switch, V-ZUG has reduced the printer fleet by 30 %. The use of cutting-edge devices makes for more energy-efficient printing processes with lower CO2 emissions.
According to estimates, Print-2-me reduces paper consumption by 5 to 10 %, because if somebody forgets to limit the number of pages or switch to black & white, employees can create a new print job without the incorrect one having already been carried out. Moreover, double-sided printing is standard. “Of course there are always sceptics. We’ve tried to involve them from an early stage. It was also nice to see that a few employees approached the project team as early as the analy sis phase and told them about opportunities they had identified in their department for reducing the number of printers”, Ernst Stecher says with obvious pleasure. Furthermore, the new system provides V-ZUG with important information for a better understanding of printing behaviour, which can be used as a basis for further incentives to design more resource-efficient processes.

As much as necessary
We can learn a lot from history. Today, for example, the milkman’s logistical concept of only bringing as much milk to households as was needed to replenish stocks is used in industry. The objective of this is to keep warehouse stock as low as possible, yet still stable, and to optimize the cost to benefit ratio of all journeys made by drivers. Following lots of groundwork, the first “milk run” was made at V-ZUG in the summer of 2019: instead of each supplier transporting its product to us as an entire truckload, we now travel with one vehicle to several suppliers in the vicinity. We only collect from them the parts that V-ZUG will soon be processing. In this way, we reduce stocks in our warehouses and save on space and energy. At the same time, we motivate our suppliers to review how they manage their stocks and to make changes.

In future, V-ZUG drivers will be visiting suppliers more frequently and collecting smaller quantities of various products. “A good way to think of it is this: latterly, each delivery has contained a complete set of tableware, rather than just knives or forks. In this way, V-ZUG reduces stocks and increases certainty in regard to availability of materials”, explains project manager Stefan Weitz. And V-ZUG compensates for more frequent delivery intervals with fewer unladen journeys, thanks to optimized route planning and an intelligent combination of delivery and collection. Furthermore, the system involves the use of returnable packaging, reducing packaging waste and enabling further efficiency improvements.

Key figures Energy and Climate

Rise in absolute energy consumption
In 2018/2019, absolute energy consumption within the organization was 113.1 terajoules. That figure is made up of electricity (41.6 %), natural gas and biogas (27.1 %), diesel (23.4 %) and petrol (0.03 %) for our own fleet of vehicles (including trucks), and heating oil (7.9 %). Energy consumption rose by 3.0 % compared with the prior year, but fell by 3.2 % compared with 2016/2017. This is because, in 2017/2018, we lowered the temperature in the manufacturing halls in Arbon, on a trial basis. However, as the lower temperatures were very unpleasant for employees and also impaired the bonding properties of the adhesives, the heating system was turned up again during this reporting period.

Graphic: Energy consumption within V-ZUG by energy sources (in Terajoule)

CO2 emissions increasing
In 2017/2018, our business operations caused 4,698 tonnes of energy-related CO2 emissions. These are comprised of diesel (41.4 %), natural gas (32.3 %), heating oil (14.0 %), petrol (0.05 %) and electricity (12.2 %). At the Zug site, electricity (which we have sourced entirely from Swiss hydroelectric power since 2014) causes zero emissions. CO2 emissions have therefore risen by 2.4 % compared with the prior period. This development is due in part to heating oil consumption in Arbon. 

Graphic: CO2 emissions, Direct site emissions (Scope 1; diesel, gas, heating oil EL) and direct off-site emissions (Scope 2; electricity) in tonnes of CO2