The war in Ukraine, impending gas shortages, exploding heating costs and, of course, climate change – there were many reasons to "radically" save heating energy in the reporting year 2022.
At VAUDE, it paid off. We used 25 percent less energy for heating compared to the previous year! How can you manage that? It's simple – only turn on the heating when it's really, really cold and limit it to a maximum room temperature of 19°C. It was important for us to explain these measures, their background and the effects to the VAUDE employees, again and again. In addition, lots of hot tea was provided free of charge and occasionally, a fleece jacket from the sample store was loaned out.
VAUDE heats with gas. This biogas is made in a sugar factory in Hungary from the by-products of sugar production. In the adjoining biogas plant, the sugar beet tailings are first fermented into biogas and then fed directly into the European gas network.
While it’s true that the sugar beet gas doesn’t actually end up in Tettnang, you can imagine the system like a large pool. It works in the same way as the electrical grid: gas flows in from all sides and from a variety of sources – our sugar beet gas is one of these.
The gas coalesces in the pool – after all, gas is just a chemical mixture and it doesn’t matter which energy source was used to produce it. The more gas from renewable resources there is, the less fossil natural gas has to be produced to fill the pool and cover our energy requirements for heating. Biogas "displaces" fossil gas from the grid.
The war in Ukraine has made it clear to all of us how important it is to switch to renewable energy as quickly as possible, including when it comes to heating. Through decades of political misguided development to continue to rely on fossil natural gas from Russia, Germany has robbed itself of its freedom of choice in favor of peace and democracy. You can find out more about VAUDE's political position here.
To ensure that VAUDE uses biogas exclusively, despite the great distance between the plant and the company, TÜV certifies that the quantity VAUDE actually uses is actually fed into the gas network from the sugar factory. Read more here.
In order to be able to evaluate our heating energy consumption independently from outdoor temperatures and the duration of the heating period, we use regional degree days for Ravensburg (GTZspez) to compare our consumption levels. We receive this information every year from the Ravensburg Energy Agency.
This resulted in higher weather-adjusted heating energy needs than our actual consumption. Accordingly, we used less energy for heating than would be predicted from the outdoor temperatures.
VAUDE not only has photovoltaics on its roofs (more about it here ), but also solar thermal energy for hot water. For example, after a strenuous bike commute to work, our employees can take a hot shower using solar energy.
This conserves the gas needed for hot water production. We supplement with gas only when the sun doesn’t shine. In 2022 we generated approx. 2,933 kilowatt hours of energy with solar thermal energy which is an increase of over 20% compared to the previous year.