From the optimization of energy usage in our facilities and implementation of green project rules through to the building of towers for bats: we are involved and dedicated at many levels to improving the ecological balance of underground natural gas storage.
Our Contribtution to the SDGs
With targeted environmental activities, we are working to help achieve sustainable development goals 13 & 15.
We Never Stand Still
The compressors at our Bad Lauchstädt and Bernburg facilities are our greatest energy consumers. By combining the two locations into one storage zone, we’ve been able to use them synergistically, and cut electricity and gas use. We’re now compressing efficiently.
We consciously chose to invest in efficient heating units for our Bad Lauchstädt facility. These will be installed at the end of 2021 following renovations, and will measurably reduce our co2 output going forward. The newest in condensing boiler technology improves efficiency while using fewer resources.
For Man, Flora and Fauna: Renaturalisation, Bats, Tree Sponsorships
While dismantling storage facilities in Buchholz and Kirchheilingen, we are working closely with environmental experts. We hope to create the best possible conditions for successful renaturation. Working with reforestation and soil care, we can ensure that plants and animals find what they need to live here. Should we ever need to disrupt nature again, we will balance this with voluntary initiatives. One example of this is what we’ve done in Kirchheilingen. Our outdated control room building had also long served as a home for bats. When we had to demolish it, we created a replacement habitat in the form of a six-meter tower with special openings. Our facilities are very green in general and provide nesting possibilities for many types of birds. With our contribution to the City of Leipzig’s tree-planting initiative "Baumstarke Stadt", we were able to take on a tree sponsorship program.
Two locations, two energy sources, one synergy concept: the compressors at our Bernburg and Bad Lauchstädt locations are our largest energy consumers. One is an electric piston compressor, and the other a natural gas-driven turbo compressor. In combining the two sites into one storage zone, we can use them much more effectively. This combination allows for improved utilisation, even when working with low nomination volumes. The turbo compressors operate more often within their optimal ranges, and the gas needed for operation sinks. We are also able to better avoid counter currents meaning that the one location no longer needs to withdraw when injections are being done at the other. This means less low-volume storage operations and, finally, lower energy and gas consumption.
Green Project Rules
Green from the beginning?
Ideally, yes – our green project rules take the ecological perspective into account during the earliest planning stages.
The goal: we want to significantly reduce or even totally avoid any potential adverse effects on the environment. When it comes to working in an environmentally conscious fashion, our project leaders serve as guides and models for our company and our partners.
The decommissioning of a location is a complex process. At the end of the process, we hope to have the most favourable conditions possible for successful renaturation. That’s why, as part of our green project rules, we involve environmental experts throughout planning and execution. They consider biological diversity and support the proper living conditions for both flora and fauna with actions such as reforestation and soil care management.
At our Kirchheilingen location, we were forced to destroy an old control room building, which had long been used by bats as a home. Before removing it, however, we consulted external ecological experts and created a replacement habitat for them in the form of a six-meter tower, including specially designed entrances.
Our overall goal, standing above any other sustainability measures, is the minimization of carbon dioxide emitted by our operations. On our path to this goal, we have already implemented climate-neutral storage and developed various green products as part of our enhanced portfolio.
But we are nowhere near finished. We are continuously working to analyse our CO2 footprint and further improve upon our green indicator systems.
Safety, health, quality, and environment – these are the supporting columns of our internally developed management system, integrated and certified since 2014.
In October 2020, we were re-certified according to the following norms:
- ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management
- ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management
- ISO 45001:2018 – Safety Management
We are currently integrating the requirements of DIN EN ISO/IEC 27001, 27002, 27019, and the IT security catalogue as per section 22 para. 1b of the German statutory requirements (EnWG) into VGS’s management system. Certification is planned for spring 2021.
The balancing of professional, personal, and family life is an important aspect of our company policy. Since 2013, VGS has been recognised with the "beruf+familie" (job+family) seal of quality, confirming that we properly implement policies promoting healthy family and personal lives for our employees.
Corporate Carbon Footprint
We are currently preparing for certification as a climate-neutral company. The Corporate Carbon Footprint examines greenhouse gas emissions. Using this information, we will develop a climate strategy by analysing which emissions can be reduced or avoided altogether and identifying those for which must we must compensate.