Sustainability at Howden, a Chart Industries Company, is deeply rooted in who we are as a company and as a team. Climate change continues to be one of the greatest challenges that this world faces. At Howden, we are committed to achieving carbon net-zero and supporting our customers to achieve their sustainability objectives including their efforts to decarbonise. As well as supporting our customers’ decarbonisation efforts, we have also defined our own commitments as a company to reduce our own carbon footprint and environmental impact. Although we continue to improve each day, and we still have a long way to go. Here’s some of our recent achievements from our teams around the world who are making a difference to our world.
Environmental gains in Frankenthal, Germany
Since 2021, our Frankenthal site in Germany has been running exclusively on renewable electricity, meaning that all electricity used to support operations at the site comes from a renewable source.
Aligned with our overall mission to reduce our carbon footprint, the team identified opportunities to switch from traditional energy sources to green energy and proceeded to sign a guarantee of origin agreement with German energy providers to ensure only renewable electricity is used to supply the site.
Since 2013, the energy management team has been conducting a systematic review of energy usage to identify energy-saving opportunities and manage the implementation of these initiatives. The creation of an energy-saving task force in 2022 helped to focus the team’s ambition to identify more efficiencies, resulting in a reduction in energy usage of around 30%.
Embedding an energy-saving culture across the site required input from all employees and the introduction of a metered network known as Messdas provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how individuals can have an impact.
This system, which was successfully piloted at Frankenthal in 2022, automatically monitors the total consumption of heat, steam, hot water, fresh water, electricity, compressed air, and natural gas not only for the whole site but also for each building, and floor. Installing meters in every building will provide a deeper understanding of energy consumption across the entire site, identifying where energy is wasted and where there are additional opportunities to improve efficiency. The team are looking forward to completing the installation of the system throughout 2023 and monitoring the overall impact on the footprint of the site
Further environmental initiatives at Frankenthal include the installation of sixteen charging stations for electric vehicles which were installed in 2022, for use by employees. The team have also been successful in securing ISO 50001 for Energy Management in 2017, as well as ISO 9001 (Quality), 14001 (Environment), and 45001 (Safety) certifications.
Replacing filament lighting with LED lighting is another site-wide initiative that the team has been focused on since 2015 and this has contributed to the overall reduction in emissions, saving 65.7 tons of CO2 per year.
Like the localized meter system for electricity use, hot water tanks have been installed to heat water for the showers in employee changing facilities. This adjustment means that the water is no longer heated via the central boiler room, which services the factory and is therefore much more efficient.
All of these measures combined mean that Frankenthal has achieved almost a 50% reduction in the consumption of traditional energy, in particular natural gas at the site.
Switching to green electricity has been an important step forward in reducing the carbon footprint of the site, however ensuring Frankenthal can generate its own energy is the vision for the future, and our plans are already in motion.
Solar panels are being installed across every feasible building on site. The 2,006.775 kWp (>2MWp) solar panel will enable the site to provide a secure, stable, and self-generated future energy supply, avoiding unpredictable hikes in energy tariffs and therefore reducing any unforeseen impact on our customers. The team also decided to replace annealing ovens in the factory that are currently powered by natural gas with smaller electric counterparts in 2024.
Continuing to look for ways to decarbonize our operations and reduce emissions is in our DNA at Howden, a Chart Industries Company, and the progress made at the Frankenthal team so far is an excellent example of what can be achieved.
Renewable Energy progress in Weihai, China
In 2021, as part of our global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments to reduce emissions, Howden began identifying opportunities to reduce emissions and decarbonise our operations across the globe.
Several sites took on the challenge of delivering ambitious reductions in emissions during 2022, and the Howden site in Weihai in China successfully reduced their carbon footprint across core operations in relation to energy usage, water usage, natural gas consumption and replacing fuel vehicles with electric counterparts.
At the end of 2021, the team in Weihai successfully designed and installed our first solar panel project in China. There were two phases to the installation of the solar project in Weihai. First, the factory roof was clad completely in solar panels. Then canopies were installed across the parking bays supporting additional solar panels to ensure the energy captured would sufficiently power the site, facilitating the transition from traditional energy use to renewable solar energy. At the end of 2021, the Weihai site was connected to the main electricity grid.
The roof of our Weihai factory with solar panels attached
During the planning phase of the project, the design team anticipated that the energy generated from the solar panels would ensure that the factory could operate entirely on renewable energy.
Since connecting to the grid, the system has generated 3,142,805kwh and consumed 2,458,305kwh up until the end of 2022, reducing carbon emissions by 28.3% compared with the same period in 2021.
Management have also adjusted workload, ensuring that high energy-consumption tasks are conducted during the day shift to take full advantage of the solar power generation and reduce reliance on the grid.
The effort to transition away from traditional energy sources also involved looking at the consumption of natural gas at the Weihai site. The team identified that the central air conditioner and heater system required the most significant amount of natural gas. By controlling the system based on air temperature changes, rather than the habits of individuals, a saving of 16% has been achieved, based on usage figures from the previous year.
Introducing electric forklifts at the Weihai site delivered further savings aligned with our ESG commitments. Seven petrol forklifts were replaced with electric vehicles at the site, resulting in a saving of 36 tons of petrol per year.
Finally, with a focus on reducing water usage, the team introduced an innovative online monitoring system to identify and eliminate any leakage in the system. In 2020 water consumption for the site was 42, 427m3and by 2021 this had been reduced to 20, 855 m3 a reduction of 51% in one year.
In 2022, the team continued their effort to reduce consumption by installing water-saving sanitary ware, hosting water-saving kaizen sessions and created posters with a water-saving slogan that were displayed across the site. By the end of 2022, the Weihai team had reduced water consumption to 14,493m3 a substantial 15% reduction year-on-year.
Making an impact through waste stream management in Booysens, South Africa
Across our global business, we operate a Waste Management Standard, which is part of our Environmental, Health and Safety policies. This drives individual site programmes to eliminate waste where possible and identify solutions to avoid landfill wherever possible.
At our site in Booysens, South Africa the team implemented a waste stream management system that enables the tracking of all waste produced by the site, and ensures records are retained on how waste is processes when it leaves the Booysens site.
Working with a colour-coded system to separate recyclable materials from contaminated waste and compostable materials, the team has successfully achieved a significant reduction in the amount of waste being sent to landfill. From March 2022 – April 2023 8,359kg of recyclable waste was sent to processing centres, which is a reduction of 18% in the amount of waste being sent to landfill compared with the previous year.
A key part of our mission to eliminate waste and avoid landfill, involves ensuring being able to track what happens to the waste after it leaves the site At Booysens, the waste streams are categorised, stored separately in 6m2 skips and weighed before they are collected by the registered waste management contractor partner supporting the Booysens site.
The contractor agrees to the terms of our Waste Management Standard, which includes providing evidence of how each ton of waste is processes. The contractor must also provide certificates that verify have been processed by a registered landfill site.
The team also embarked on a campaign at the Booysens site to educate employees at Booysens about the importance of effective waste stream management, and the environmental impact of failing to process waste properly.
Recording a reduction of 18% in waste going to landfill sites in 2022 is a strong step forward for the Booysens site, a figure that will grow as we maintain focus throughout 2023 and beyond.
More on Howden’s ESG commitments
Howden recently released an update on its ESG progress, which includes a 23% reduction in its scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions during 2022. Further information on Howden’s Social commitments and progress can be found in the latest 2022 ESG report.