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Environmental measures

Energy efficiency

In addition to the expansion of renewable energies and the reduction of greenhouse gases, improving energy use is a key pillar of the energy revolution. Here you will find information about our many measures to improve energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency at EnBW

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1. Network energy efficiency and climate protection

In order to contribute to increasing energy efficiency in industry, trade, commerce and crafts, the German government, together with associations and organisations from industry, has concluded an agreement on the nationwide introduction of energy efficiency and climate protection networks. The energy efficiency networks established under the first association agreement proved to be a successful approach to saving energy and hence reducing emissions. In 2020, the parties extended this agreement by five years while placing greater focus on climate protection. By the end of 2025, a further 300 to 350 networks are to be established. These will continue to work on the goals of saving energy, reducing carbon emissions and reducing energy costs on a long-term basis.

EnBW has been a pioneer in the area of energy efficiency and climate protection with our successful EnBW Energy and Climate Networks that we have been offering as a service to our industry customers for the last 18 years. More than 100 industrial companies are participants in the seven networks running in 2024. EnBW has now held more than 700 network meetings – which are currently frequently held online and which are sometimes opened up to give participants in all of the networks the opportunity to come together and discuss specialist themes. The EnBW CliMa Round Table Workshop and the EnBW ISO 50.001 Workshop have been recently added as online platforms for companies who want to exchange ideas on their climate protection strategies or who want to establish an energy management system, respectively.

2. Energy efficiency in buildings

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EnBW Real Estate GmbH – a wholly owned subsidiary of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG – is responsible for the most important real estate activities in the Group. It is aiming to reduce the CO₂ emissions from the real estate portfolio and improve energy efficiency. The portfolio managed by EnBW Real Estate GmbH comprises about 130 properties with approximately 300 buildings and a net floor space of around 690,000 m².

The goal is to reduce the specific energy consumption of existing buildings by 10% by 2025 and by 20% by 2030, based on the reference year of 2018. We had achieved a reduction in energy consumption of around 24% at the benchmark sites by the end of 2023.

We use an energy management system (EnMS) certified according to ISO 50001 as a fundamental part of our work to regularly monitor and improve the energy consumption in buildings.

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A program of measures to achieve a “climate-neutral real estate portfolio” was launched in 2023. The program covers around 250 buildings and the following measures: approximately 30 energy-focused building refurbishments, including a switch to heat pumps in some cases, the expansion of more than 90 PV plants, a comprehensive switch to LED lighting, digital metering systems and the implementation of a building automation platform. Reducing CO₂ emissions and energy consumption are also a priority in the renovation of our sites. The preliminary planning stage for the energy-focused refurbishment of the buildings in Mühlacker and Altbach has been concluded and we are now focusing on the in-depth architectural and energy efficiency plans. Based on the preliminary plans for the Mühlacker site, we will achieve an EG 40 EE standard (energy efficient building level 40 with renewable energies) and reduce CO₂ emissions by around 90%. Our two new construction projects in Oberndorf and Osterburken will also comply with the EG 40 EE standard and in combination with a PV plant will generate more energy than they consume themselves, thus making an important contribution to improving energy efficiency in our real estate portfolio. The installation of the first PV plants in Esslingen, Biberach and Veringenstadt with an output of around 900 kWp has already been completed and they will be connected to the grid in 2024.

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3. Energy efficiency in water supply

Stuttgart water supply produces more energy than it uses

NETZE BW Wasser GmbH, a subsidiary of Netze BW GmbH, operates the Stuttgart water supply. Due to the topographical location of the water network, energy can be recovered from the power of the water and then used locally or fed into the power grid. The basic idea is that the "hydraulic potential" is not "destroyed" by pressure reducing valves, but is converted into electrical energy by means of backward running pumps before the water is fed into the municipal distribution network. An electricity requirement of approximately 1.4 GWh per year is offset by a recovery up to 3.7 GWh of electrical energy. About 0.8 GWh of the generated electricity can be consumed by the city itself. This covers about 57 % of the company's own electricity requirements. By feeding the remaining 2.8 GWh of electrical energy back into the public power supply grid, fossil fuels can be substituted. Thus it is possible to avoid about 2,200 tonnes of CO₂ per year.

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Since Netze BW Wasser GmbH buys 100 % green electricity, the purchase of the gigawatt hour of electricity still required from the grid is CO₂-neutral. Even if the CO₂ emissions caused by the demand for fuels and gas (0.26 GWh and 0.75 GWh) are included in the balance sheet, the bottom line is that Netze BW Wasser GmbH's balance sheet shows approximately a remaining of minus 2,000 tonnes of CO₂.

Netze BW Wasser GmbH currently operates 19 turbines with a total output of around 1.4 MW at 15 sites in the urban area of Stuttgart. The power range extends from turbines with only 1.5 kW to aggregates with 315 kW active power. Although the recovery of energy from drinking water is not subsidized under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the aim is to further expand and exploit even small recovery potentials.

Since 2016, Netze BW Wasser GmbH has had a certified energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001, which helps to identify potential savings and sustainably reduce energy consumption. Since its introduction, total annual energy consumption has been reduced by around 37 % (electricity: -33 %, gas: -45 %, fuels -32 %). Energy recovery has been more than doubled by around 130 %. By supporting energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001 at the Filderwasserversorgung and Strohgäu Wasserversorgung water utility associations, Netze BW Wasser GmbH also supports the continuous improvement of energy efficiency outside its own boundaries.

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4. Green IT

Sustainability is also an important theme in the area of information technology. Under the motto “Green IT,” we have already implemented numerous initiatives that deliver both environmental and economic benefits. We are optimizing energy efficiency across the entire value added chain and this is a key element of our efforts to become more sustainable.

In the EnBW data centers, we are focusing on minimizing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency. An essential component of our optimization strategy is our sophisticated air conditioning concept. Maintaining constant and reliable cooling conditions is essential for regulating the operating temperatures of the IT infrastructure and thus guaranteeing the availability of our IT systems. We have been able to significantly reduce energy consumption in our data centers using indirect, free cooling systems and hot aisle/cold aisle housings, as well as by raising the temperature level, using waste heat to heat the offices and utilizing energy-efficient hardware. As part of our ongoing efforts to optimize the energy efficiency of our data centers, we have also been able to identify and successfully implement additional measures for improving efficiency.

We place huge importance on sustainable purchasing practices when procuring new IT components. Alongside technical requirements, one third of the criteria used in the evaluation process have a focus on sustainability. Furthermore, we also pay close attention to the environmental friendliness and sustainability of our cloud system providers.

We have been able to comprehensively digitalize the processes and workflows in many areas of the company by introducing hybrid working models. This has not only reduced our consumption of paper but will also help to reduce the number of business trips in the long term.

The IT initiative “Drive it25” includes a series of IT activities that aim to deliver greater sustainability in and through the use of IT. These measures now cover the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. We are combating the increasing demands placed on IT through digitalization by intensifying our efforts to make our solutions more sustainable. Some measures that are particularly worthy of mention include the company’s goal of reducing the volume of paper consumed at EnBW by up to 90% by 2025, based on the reference year of 2019, the promotion of regional cooperation in the form of inclusive partnerships, the introduction of sustainable search engines across the company and intensive efforts to make the carbon footprint of our IT transparent.

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