Meeting environmental goals
In 2009, a company-wide Energy Team was launched by Airbus parent company EADS, which is now the Airbus Group, in the scope of its Future EADS Project, in which Airbus is playing an active part. The primary aim is to contribute to targets set by the Vision 2020 programme, which includes reductions of energy usage by 30 per cent and 50 per cent for CO2 emissions by 2020.
At the same time, an additional goal is to increase the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20 per cent. As of June 2012, seven per cent of electricity was generated on-site, with less than one per cent produced using photovoltaic systems.
The initiative covers 65 sites and provides for a gradual reduction of energy consumption in production, buildings and in the information technology sector. It is being supported by close cooperation with all the relevant company departments.
Energy efficiency often is the best way to make the most significant impact on reducing energy costs and carbon emissions – so low-energy lighting, improved insulation, voltage management and energy efficient heating/cooling always are key best practices of the facility management teams.
However, objectives can only be achieved if all functions and employees give their active support. Success will be the result of numerous small efforts from individuals, which is why a group-wide Energy Awareness Campaign was established in May 2009 with the slogan: “Save energy, make a difference!”
Its objectives are to apply best practices to reduce energy consumption in the short term, and to minimise the company's environmental footprint to support Vision 2020 goals over a longer period. The team also created a group-wide energy network to share information and keep employees up-to-date on energy-saving projects.
A large-scale effort
Other initiatives are taking place across Europe. At Airbus’ Filton, UK site, hundreds of people have embraced an inter-building “How Low Can You Go” challenge to save energy, while in Broughton, Wales, employees have been learning how to save fuel by driving more economically via a simulator provided by the Energy Saving Trust.
Information displays in the company’s manufacturing areas are raising energy awareness, and targeted work also is taking place in the office areas to identify energy waste and help educate people about its reduction.
One of Airbus's most significant environmental projects is development of the Broughton North Factory, which will produce wings for the A350 XWB Family of aircraft. This factory includes a number of technologies to improve its performance and lower carbon emissions, including ground source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting and improved insulation throughout the structure. It also has photovoltaic panels and solar water heating, and will act as a baseline for future building constructions and retrofits.
In addition, a new bio-mass boiler in Toulouse, France will reduce the Airbus site’s total carbon emissions by approximately 12,000 tonnes – with energy provided by burning woodchips sourced from nearby forests rather than consuming gas. The bio-mass boiler will be the only one of its kind operated at a European Airbus site.