What does it look like when the billion-dollar company saves energy? Deutsche Bahn replied on Tuesday: quite dark. Until now, the glass headquarters of Deutsche Bahn on Potsdamer Platz in the center of Berlin were brightly lit until late in the evening. Before midnight, the façade is illuminated by LED lights. The group has now announced that they will no longer be activated with immediate effect. Only the DB logo on top of the Bahn Tower and the position lights for air traffic control will continue to glow.
In the face of the global energy crisis, Deutsche Bahn, as the largest German electricity consumer, wants to be a pioneer in saving. However, the move could also be a reaction to criticism of the company’s waste over the past few days. Because the glass seat has recently been brightly lit, despite the fact that it is empty due to renovation. The 800 headquarters staff are no longer seated in the striking glass building, but a few meters away in the neighboring Sony Center. In fact, you wanted to turn off earlier, but in turn, consent and decision-making processes would take a little longer.
But now it really should start with savings. All 200,000 Deutsche Bahn employees in Germany would receive “an energy bonus of 100 euros with a salary payment in December,” announced HR director Martin Seiler. If the idea is well received, the management board will even add a one-time energy bonus of up to 150 euros. By the end of the year, the Management Board will decide whether the employees have made every effort to save electricity.
Deutsche Bahn explained that the energy bonus was linked to a call to continue saving energy through creative ideas in the workplace. “We want all employees in Germany to become active, to pull all small and large levers to ultimately achieve substantial savings,” said Seiler. These are topics such as lighting, heating, using air conditioning, refueling “or maybe using the stairs instead of the elevator”. Even small savings add up to a considerable amount, given the size of the group, and are an important lever to mitigate rapidly rising energy prices.
Corporations want to send workers to work from home to save energy
Other companies have different ideas. To save energy, they want to send their employees to their home office. After all, they have to heat their homes anyway, and can save fuel that they would otherwise use for the commute. “Basically, working from home can help you save energy as office buildings do not need to be heated and you can also save electricity there,” said Claudia Kemfert, energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research. This idea is also praised by the Federal Minister of Economy. “The energy balance is positive when offices are not heated and rooms that are heated anyway are used,” said Robert Habeck. The Federal Association of Medium-sized Enterprises (BVMW) estimates that up to 3.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas in road traffic can be saved by eliminating the need for commuting.
Falling energy costs are practical for corporations – and they are doing well in the current political climate as well. “It is possible that we will restore more home offices for a limited time, as in the event of a pandemic. This time, however, to save energy in the national interest, ”Carsten Knobel, head of Henkel’s consumer goods manufacturer, said in an interview with the agency. The Rhine Post. “We were then able to cool down the temperature in the offices significantly, while our employees could heat normally at home.” On the other hand, the German Trade Union Federation posted the outcry on Twitter: “More # home offices in winter to save energy in companies? Not like this. ” “Energy shortages must not lead to the use of a home office to pass labor costs – including heating workplaces – onto employees,” said DGB board member Anja Piel.
According to a press poll Handelsblatt Out of 40 Dax companies, the first of them plan to lower the temperature in their offices for the winter, and working at home is also a new trend. For example, Bayer plans to lower the temperature in its German plants by at least one degree Celsius. Normal in winter is actually 20 to 22 degrees. Vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck even wants to lower the room temperature in its production halls and offices by two degrees at the start of the heating season. Hannover Re insurance group is considering the complete shutdown of individual buildings to heat significantly less and send workers to their home office. “Now is the time to exhaust everything that complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation,” said Frank Mastiaux, head of energy supplier EnBW.
However, austerity measures have their limits, especially on the railroad. In Germany, a minimum brightness level is recommended for health and safety reasons at railway stations, trains and workplaces. The company does not want to change anything in this. In addition to the employee program, Deutsche Bahn has launched other measures. This includes, for example, energy-efficient driving in long-distance and regional transport and the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with alternative heating systems. The railway uses about ten terawatt hours of electricity per year – more than any other company. Gas makes up six percent of the railroads electricity mix, and coal about 20 percent. The share of green electricity is over 60%.