We strive to create reliable and efficient products and solutions that have less impact on the environment. We aim to meet the requirements of customers today, without putting the needs of future generations at risk. To do this, we take an iterative approach to integrating sustainability into our business, making tangible improvements year-on-year.
Please go to the Sustainability Report 2018 for the comprehensive version.
Energy-efficient products and solutions
Now, perhaps more than ever, there is a demand for energy-efficient products and solutions.
We have achieved excellent energy efficiency in some products, which now have little room for improvement, but other products can benefit from further development to increase their efficiency. This is what we are addressing.
In the future, a substantial part of our offering will integrate digitally enabled services that will enhance their energy efficiency, and this in turn improve the energy efficiency of the systems in which they are integrated.
Since 2005, we have been calculating the electricity savings of all our high-efficiency circulator pumps in the European Union (EU). As of 2018, these pumps have achieved a total annual energy saving of 7.9 billion kWh, or the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 4.8 million EU residents.
With each new product we see improvement and that is why 4.5% of our turnover in 2018 was allocated to developing new solutions, which helped us launch 23 new products and solutions.
Energy-efficient district heating
Motivated by the challenge of making district heating more sustainable, a new system was piloted at the Gentofte area of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The goal is to reduce wasteful heat loss in district heating systems, which would result in more efficient use of renewable energy district heating systems that serve a wide area in a city can face the drawback that variations in temperature demand will result in excessive heat loss and inefficiency.
“Our solution typically reduces the heat loss by more than 20% and at the same time paves the way for more efficient use of renewable energy and surplus heat in district heating,” explains Carsten Østergård Pedersen, Senior Business Development Manager, CBS HVAC Solutions.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR If all district heating utilities in Europe were to adopt this solution, we could reduce heat loss by more than 20,000 GWh. this corresponds to the annual consumption of more than 1.5 million households in Europe and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 3 billion tonnes.
A sustainable solution in China
China implemented its sponge city mega-project in 2014 to deal with a range of environmental issues. it commissioned us to be a partner in the project in Fuzhou.
Fuzhou, the capital of China’s Fujian province, is a sprawling industrial hub where unhealthy pollution levels have contaminated its water resources.
To tackle the problem, the government developed the Inner River Circulation Project, which was completed in mid-2018. It includes integrated intelligent Grundfos pump gates, which allow technicians to remotely monitor and dynamically adjust the river’s water levels. “The pump gate system works by focusing on the water level. When it is high, it (the gate) will be closed, but during flooding season, the pump gate is open so the water flows,” says Qi Feng Huang, Water Utility Specialist, Grundfos Shanghai.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR A central element of the Inner River Circulation project is a pump gate that responds to the level of the river to flush away polluted water.
The SPS Toolbox
This year, we fully integrated the Sustainable Product Solutions Toolbox (SPS Toolbox) into all our product or solution development processes. This eco-design toolbox is a holistic approach that allows engineers and product designers to work through a product’s entire life cycle systematically.
At Grundfos, we strive to integrate sustainability into every part of our value chain, from the extraction of raw materials all the way to the end-of-life of our products.
We use eco-design – an approach to designing products with consideration for the environmental impact of the product during its entire life cycle – and therefore incorporate an eco-design toolbox called Sustainable Product Solutions into our key design processes, which enables us to reduce our impacts by setting clear, attainable and product-specific goals.
Along with eco-design, we also use Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which allows us to assess a product’s environmental footprint and helps us to improve it.
Circular economy: where materials are an asset. In general, different products are made with different amounts of recycled materials. We are proud to say that typically 100% of the aluminium and approximately 90% of the cast iron that we use in our products is derived from recycled materials. About 80% of the stainless steel we source also comes from recycled materials. The proportion for copper is 50% and for polymer materials is 0-10%. Most of our packaging materials (wood and paper) are FSC-certified, which are recyclable and are predominantly made from renewable resources.
Beyond compliance: We continually look for ways to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous substances in our products and production processes all over the globe. All our suppliers are contractually obliged to comply with The Grundfos Focus List, which stipulates which substances are restricted. It is of paramount importance that our suppliers adhere to the Focus List.
Customer health & safety: We conduct safety risk assessments for all our products and solutions. In 2018, we had one product recall which might have put customers at risk of possible accident. We communicated the case on our global website and handled it in accordance with established system and legal obligations.
Our environmental footprint
We know that it takes commitment, ambition and bold initiatives to achieve the best possible result in terms of reducing our own environmental footprint.
That is why we continuously pull apart, analyse and improve every part of our business from reducing our energy and water consumption, to cutting our material waste and ensuring that we use recyclable materials.
Energy use and CO2 emissions: 2018, we consumed 308 GWh of energy and emitted 91,166 tonnes of CO2. Our energy consumption and CO2 emissions decreased by 0.9% and 10.3 % respectively compared to 2017. Overall, our CO2 emissions are now 31% below 2008. This year, we invested DKK 55 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These investments are expected to yield reductions of more than 15 GWh in energy consumption per year.
Water use: In 2018, we consumed 430,703 m3 of water, a 1.6% decrease compared to 2017. We set site-specific targets for water use. We are committed to cutting our water consumption by 50% by 2025 and we are currently 34% below the 2008 level.
Noteworthy examples of our water efficiency/recycling projects include a closed-loop project which involves cleaning wastewater from the cataphoresis (CED) paint plant in Denmark. This is expected to allow a massive 5,000 m3 saving. We are also in the process of installing two decentralised wastewater treatment plants in Serbia.
Waste and take-back system: Through our take-back system in Denmark, we collected 5,077 kg of end-of-use circulators, which our flex department dismantled in an environmentally responsible manner. By weight this was 19% less than in 2017; however, the decrease was expected due to our focus on refining and scaling up the scheme across Europe.
Room for improvement: We currently have eight cases of environmental non-compliance across the Group related to wastewater (multiple cases), external noise-level, soil contamination, incorrect reporting to authorities and emissions.
We are engaged in open and transparent dialogue with all the relevant parties to deal with the issues and mitigation efforts, which are under way, are our highest priority. These cases are being monitored closely to ensure implementation of countermeasures to meet legal requirements.
End-of-life pumps as resources
In 2015, we piloted a project that aimed to improve the efficiency of our disassembly activities in Denmark. Fully operational from 2018, the project takes us a step closer to circularity.
Disassembly is part of production activity and has an important role in our product life cyle. Raw materials like copper, iron, stainless steel, aluminum, plastics and rubber can either be recycled as clean fractions or repurposed.
“The goal is to get to the stage where we can reuse components of a returned pump or repair or replace parts that have suffered wear and tear, in order to prolong the usefullife of the pump,” says Majken Haakonsen, Project Manager, Environmental Center of Excellence.
"An additional benefit of this project is that we are able to provide work opportunities for our colleagues with reduced work capacity,” adds Majken.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR From May to December 2018, the new disassembly line recycled almost 15,000 pumps. With the current activities and our manual disassembly, we have achieved water savings of 50% and reduced CO2 emissions by 13.5% compared to mechanical disassembly at commercial waste-handling operations.
The benefits of solar energy
Sun-soaked South Africa with its vast open plains is perfect for solar energy. we decided to install 1,100m² of brand new solar paneling on the north facing roof of our warehouse in Johannesburg.
The initiative will push down the peak power charges from the company’s electricity provider, effectively lowering the utility bill and CO2 emissions at the same time. It will provide us with stable electricity which we need for heating and cooling and general day-to-day demands.
When the sun shines brightly for a couple of days, it is possible to get by on almost no power from the grid, which reduce CO2 emissions. Using this as an average, we calculate that will reduce our use of coal-based electricity by around 210,976 kWh during the first year.
“The most rewarding thing is to know that we are using natural elements to power parts of the building,” says Hannes Botha, SAP Business Process Manager who oversaw the project from concept to delivery.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR On average, solar panels provides 30%-50% of total energy use in the Johannesburg warehouse.