The work of the environmental and energy teams has a lasting effect
Positive change can only happen if we communicate with one other. To optimise all internal processes with regard to ecology and energy technology, Duravit set up two interdisciplinary teams of specialists; the Energy team in 2006 and the Eco team as early as 1993. Consisting of experts from different European production sites and with the participation of managers and the board member responsible for technology, the teams regularly discuss current developments, legislative amendments, environmental and energy figures, and any other related issues. The resulting findings and optimisation proposals are then put into practice at all Duravit sites.
Inform, evaluate, discuss, optimise
The Eco team was founded as early as 1993. It meets three times a year in order to share information and discuss all environmental aspects at Duravit, starting with the procurement of raw materials through manufacture, packaging and product use to the disposal of both production waste and the products themselves. In addition, the team discusses issues relating to the use of potentially hazardous materials, risk management for the production facilities and processes and it also looks for environmentally-compatible solutions. The Energy team founded in 2006 meets four times per year. It examines the energy aspects of existing technical facilities and how to optimise them: where and how can energy consumption be reduced further? To answer this question, an energy consumption report is to be compiled and an energy-saving database established in the medium term at each non-European factory. This enables the team to draw up action plans with regard to environmentally-acceptable production planning, environmentally-friendly technologies such as heat recovery, and a general reduction in the use of energy and resources.
- In the production bathroom furniture, technically sophisticated production facilities guarantee efficient and low-pollutant operation.
As a rule, Duravit endeavours to keep energy and raw material consumption, as well as emissions (CO2, pollutants, noise), to a minimum and works tirelessly to reduce these further. Numerous measures are required for this. In the production of ceramics and bathroom furniture, technically sophisticated production facilities guarantee efficient and low-pollutant operation. Effective facility management also helps to reduce energy consumption in the administrative buildings.
Water recycling with the new wastewater treatment plant
The new wastewater treatment plant at the Hornberg site shows how water can be reused several times. Commissioned at the beginning of 2011, the plant enables a r eduction in the amount of treatment chemicals used by up to 20%. As all wastewater from production is conducted through the plant, it predominantly contains body scrap and glaze waste, as well as solids. These are separated both mechanically and chemically. The residual water is removed from the solids content and is then returned, in part, to production; this saves resources and avoids the high costs of waste disposal. The industrial process water can also be largely reused: thanks to the plant’s constantly high cleaning performance, the water can be reused in production for cleaning. Only about 45% of the wat er required in production is fresh water.
Pilot plants used to test new methods
The Eco and Energy teams are always on the lookout for new methods for conserving both resources and the environment. Diploma theses completed at Duravit also provide important impulses. Promising new technologies are also put through their paces in the form of pilot projects at one of the factories. If the method proves effective over a longer period, it is also tested at other sites and, if applicable, then used throughout the Group. Precisely one such pilot project is currently running on the casting plant at Duravit in Meissen: here, the industrial process water generated in production is fed through a ceramic membrane. All solids are separated and the water is fully recycled without the use of any chemical additives. The recycled water is used to clean the casting moulds and this virtually reduces the use of fresh water to zero. In Meissen, this saves about 5,500 m3 water per year.
- All the emissions from the woodchip burners pass through a sophisticated technical filter system.
Saving energy thanks to intelligent power management
Depending on the production stage and corresponding energy requirement, so-called peak loads occur in energyintensive production facilities and these place a considerable load on the network. In sanitary ceramic production in Meissen, Duravit has succeeded in greatly reducing these peak loads by implementing a carefully thought-out power management system: based on the well-planned operation of the production facilities for preparing ceramic mass and glaze, as well as WonderGliss production, energy consumption has been reduced noticeably.
Waste wood generates heat for the production of bathroom furniture
Duravit’s production of bathroom furniture in Schenkenzell demonstrates how waste is converted into energy: all woodchips and shavings are collected in a woodchip burner and recycled for heat recovery. In Schenkenzell, this meets the entire heating requirement for production without the need for further energy sources or additional transport costs. Naturally, all the emissions produced during this process pass through a sophisticated technical filter system.
- 50% of the heating requirement can be derived from recovered surplus heat.
The production of sanitary ceramics generates a great amount of heat, particularly in the kilns and drying rooms. Heat that, at Duravit, is not simply wasted but reused. According to the principle of heat recovery, at the sites in Hornberg, Meissen, Bischwiller and China, the energy obtained from the surplus heat is returned directly to production. This means that up to 50% of the heating requirement can be derived from recovered surplus heat.
Effective waste management at all sites
As a rule, Duravit endeavours to avoid or reduce waste wherever possible at all of its production sites and in all its administrative buildings. Production waste is generally separated at the factory for optimum material disposal and recycling. As a result, the recycling quotas, some of which are in excess of 95%, are attained in the European factories. Duravit works exclusively with certified waste disposal companies. The total waste volume is recorded in the ISO 14001 certified factories and is traceable. Of course, it is more sustainable to recycle waste internally, as is the case in the wastewater treatment plant in Hornberg and the woodchip burner in Schenkenzell.
Showing waste the red card
A greater awareness when using resources was also the topic of the 2011 DII campaign (Duravit innovation internal): under the motto “show waste the red card”, all employees in production and administration were required to look more closely at actual situations and processes at their workplace and in their department and t o submit any optimisation suggestions. It was certainly something worth thinking about as prizes were immediately awarded for all useful suggestions with particularly attractive prizes for the best ideas. During the campaign period, the number of suggestions submitted rose by about 40% and the number of participating employees increased by about 15%. Many employees submitted a Dii suggestion for the first time. The campaign showed that very specific sustainability can also be achieved in a light-hearted way.