Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and the President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) Dr Eric Schweizer honoured the best Energy Scouts from four European countries for the first time on 25 June 2019. In the presence of around 300 guests, including Dr Péter Györkös the Hungarian Ambassador in Berlin, the Federal Minister for the Environment and the DIHK President praised the Scouts’ contributions to the transformation of the economy in terms of a climate-friendly future. The event was held in Berlin’s Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft, where the best teams from Bulgaria, Greece, the Czech Republic and Hungary received certificates for their energy and resource-efficient projects.
The Energy Scouts had earlier undergone a five-day training course as part of the Young Energy Europe EUKI project. This enabled them to design and implement energy efficiency and resource-saving measures in their companies. These measures had already won the national competitions in their own countries of Bulgaria, Greece, the Czech Republic and Hungary and this qualified the young people for participation in Berlin, where Minister Schulze and DIHK President Dr Eric Schweizer presented the winners’ certificates. The event also served as a platform for the exchange of information with the German Energy Scouts, who also received awards.
Recycling of waste
From Bulgaria, the Energy Scouts Dimitar Hadzhiev and Nikolai Pilev of Pirin Tex Produktion EOOD were at the top of the podium. In their company, the scouts are implementing a project to recycle plastic material waste into petroleum derivatives. Their company produces large amounts of waste (textiles, plastics, etc.), which have been collected, sorted and recycled externally. In the newly planned recycling process, the plastic-containing production residues and other waste are to be broken down into their valuable components and reused on site using a pyrolysis process. The aim is to save around 44 tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year.
Bulgarian winners save energy with recycled waste. Photos: DIHK/Schicke (left), Pirin-Tex (right)
The Greek Energy Scouts Ioanna Zitogiannou and Nikos Provis from the Icon Group secured the national title with the topic “The microclimate in the working environment – energy savings through the use of plants“. The offices of the Icon Group, an engineering firm for building technology, are located directly on an urban railway line in Athens. Both in winter and summer, the windows have to remain closed due to the noise, so the employees have to rely on the air conditioning system. This burdens the electricity bill as well as the microclimate in the rooms. Ioanna Zitogiannou and Nikos Provis showed that by planting shady trees on the outside and greening the interior, part of the costs for ventilation and air conditioning can be avoided. The investment costs for the plants amount to altogether 223 euro, of it 120 euro for four acacias for the external greening and 103 euro for altogether 27 plants in the interior range. On the revenue side, the expected annual energy savings of around 1,330 kWh in air conditioning are the most significant.
Plants improve the indoor climate and provide shade and are a simple and efficient energy saving measure. Photos: DIHK/Schicke (left); Sagiakos Dimitris (right)
Taking the bus to work
In the Czech Republic, the winning project came from the field of company mobility. In the competition for the best workers, the automotive supplier LEAR offers a daily shuttle service for employees from home to work and back. In addition, the company partially reimburses travel costs in its own car, which is particularly well appreciated. The Energy Scouts Kateřina Kleinová, Lucie Fialová and Vendula Vokrouhlíková optimised the mobility concept and made the shuttle bus service more attractive. Among other things, LEAR adjusted working hours to ensure efficient arrival and departure times for as many employees as possible. In addition, the capacity per shuttle was increased from eight to 16 places. In the future, the implementation of these measures is expected to result in emission savings of around 145 tons of CO₂ per year. At the same time, the company already saved 50,000 euros in the first quarter of the conversion.
145 tons of CO₂ per year is to be saved by an efficiently organized route to work. Photos: DIHK/Schicke (left); LEAR (right)
The Hungarian competition was won by Tamás Angeli and Dániel Szalai from the steel producer ISD Dunaferr. The company’s production hall with around 15,000 m² is illuminated 24 hours a day by 326 lamps and requires a considerable amount of electricity. In future, the hall will be illuminated by modern LED lamps. ISD Dunaferr thus saves 1,280,525 kWh of electricity and 326 tonnes of CO₂ annually. The lighting of the production plant consumes 76 percent less electricity than before. The investment costs of 230,000 euros should be saved within less than two years.
The Hungarian ambassador also congratulated his compatriots. They exchanged the lighting at Dunaferr. Photos: DIHK/Schicke (left); Dunaferr (right)
The Young Energy Europe project is funded by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Based on a similar project within the framework of the BMU’s National Climate Initiative (NKI), the Young Energy Europe project is aimed at making Europe’s economy more sustainable. The event in Berlin took place in cooperation with the German SME Initiative Energiewende and Climate Protection.