Epson Germany Offers Environmental Innovations
Backed by the German public's well-known commitment to environmental conservation, the German government has created headlines with its decision to reject nuclear energy. Implementing this measure will require the adoption of sensible energy consumption methods within industry, private households and also the numerous small and medium-sized companies in Germany.
Epson Deutschland GmbH ("Epson Germany"), which is based in Meerbusch, near Dusseldorf, has stepped up to the challenge with a string of initiatives designed to reduce the company's environmental footprint. Through its "Green Way" environmental program, Epson has demonstrated how financial success can be combined with environmentally-conscious behaviour. The seven pillars of the program consist of: avoiding waste, more recycling, saving energy, fewer flights, driving more energy-efficiently, developing ecological innovations and planting trees. "We aim to operate the majority of our business with a neutral CO2 balance", explains Country Manager Henning Ohlsson.
One measure has been to promote the use of Epson inkjet printers, which require up to 80% less energy than equivalent laser systems. Showing the way is Epson Germany itself, which has introduced Epson WorkForce business inkjet printers to all its offices. With 100 machines, this measure will save more than 10,000 euros over the course of three years through reduced electricity costs alone. The printers not only require less electricity when printing but also approximately five times less power when in standby mode.
Epson Germany is also supporting a European program to spread the use of electrical vehicles. With a large sales force constantly on the road, the company decided to utilise electric vehicles as company cars and has been testing the day-to-day practicality of this form of transport since 2011. "By using electric vehicles we are taking the next logical step along our green path," explains Ohlsson.
All employees were asked to test the cars for short journeys, and try recharging them with green, hydroelectrically generated electricity. Felix Elschner, Key Account Manager Public Sector, tested an Opel Ampera for five weeks. He discovered that the car was a great environmental ambassador and always serves as a talking point. "All of the customers were very interested and some of them even followed me into the car park after our appointment," he said. "What better way to emphasise Epson's commitment to the environment?"
But the company's efforts haven't stopped there. In 2008, Epson Germany installed a 400 m2 photovoltaic system on the roof of its company headquarters generating a power output of more than 45,000 kWh per year. This corresponds to approximately the amount of energy consumed by the Epson Industry Solutions Center, which the company uses to promote to customers its robots and other energy-efficient solutions for industry.
The company is also reaching out into the community with its efforts. To compensate for its emissions, Epson Germany has planted a large forest near its German headquarters. The city of Meerbusch provided three hectares of land and Epson's employees planted no less than 7,500 bushes and 7,500 trees. It has also been running a project entitled "Experiencing and understanding energy" with Düsseldorf primary schools. The project involves arranging environmental lessons for students, including in 2012 a lecture by Jurgen Trittin, former federal minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and chairman of the German Green Party. "We regard our commitment to the region as one of our key obligations," said Ohlsson. "This is the sixth year of the environmental lessons. They encourage and awaken the children's consciousness of the environment. Being active in this area is very important to me personally."