Numerous environmental activities
NIBE has production plants in around 15 countries worldwide. In these factories we process metals and other materials, and weld, enamel, paint and assemble a large number of different products. All of these activities impact on the environment in one way or another.
Among the most important environmental issues for NIBE are the use of natural resources, the hazards associated with chemicals, emissions to air and the management of factory waste. Our indirect environmental impact is measured in terms of our suppliers’ activities and the transportation of raw materials and finished products. We see the actual use of our products as highly positive in an environmental context, as expressed in our vision of “world-class solutions in sustainable energy”.
We carry out risk assessments in various environmentally related areas. These cover, for example, the effects of new environmental legislation, changes in customer demands, climate change, soil pollution and the presence of hazardous substances. In 2012 no changes in environmental legislation took place and no new risks were identified relating to our operations.
During the year there were no major emissions or accidents at our plants that had a negative effect on the environment. A small number of plants occasionally exceeded the limits imposed on noise, particulate emissions and wastewater emissions. In all cases measures have already been taken or plans have been made to rectify the situation.
In 2012 a brand new heat-pump array was installed at the Heat-pump Plant in Markaryd. The array produces 180 kW of heat from energy taken partly from five 160-metre deep boreholes and partly from the outside air with the aid of six NIBE AMB air collectors of around 20 kW each. Energy is also recovered from the air used when function-testing products as part of the manufacturing process.
Key to our environmental ambitions is obtaining ISO 14001 certification for our production plants. Almost half of these units are already certified and a further 15 plan to introduce ISO 14001 certification over the next couple of years. Approximately 50 environmental audits were performed during the year by internal and external auditors.
Environment and economy
In 2012 we invested approximately SEK 20 million (2011: SEK 22 million) in measures to improve our environmental performance and the working environment in our factories and offices. Almost two thirds of this total went into improvements to the working environment, but this still left a significant amount to finance energy-efficiency improvements and the installation of equipment to reduce particulate emissions into the atmosphere.
The environmental and work environment costs totalled approximately SEK 14 million (SEK 16 million), of which around SEK 6.0 million (SEK 5.4 million) comprised waste management fees. Administration costs for environmental and work environment measures were approximately SEK 4.7 million (SEK 4.9 million). The Group’s total energy costs amounted to approximately SEK 87 million (SEK 79 million), while the cost for water and sewerage was SEK 4.0 million (SEK 3.2 million). Our environmental work generated savings of approximately SEK 2.5 million (SEK 1.7 million), thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, waste management and the more efficient use of materials.
Our products contribute to a better environment
Ground-source/geothermal heat pumps and exhaust-air heat pumps from NIBE Energy Systems help to reduce dependence on carbon-based fossil energy sources while improving energy efficiency and heating economy in many different types of property.
NIBE Stoves markets a number of wood-burning stoves that proudly bear the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. This guarantees that the environmental performance of these products is even better than required by general regulations, and that the products themselves are manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. Ecolabelling also requires incremental improvements to a product’s environmental credentials over the years. We meet these requirements by continually improving the energy efficiency of our stoves and reducing their emissions to air.
NIBE Element’s resistors are used in many applications related to renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. A new type of resistor is a key component in the latest generation of wind turbines. Other resistors are used in frequency converters that control the speed of electric motors and thus enhance their energy efficiency.