How can the climate actually be protected? A good question to which there are many answers. Dr Simon Weihofen, sustainability consultant at ista, knows that, too. For him climate protection is both a profession and a vocation at the same time. In the interview he talks about why the energy service provider publishes a sustainability report and how each one of us can save energy and therefore also money.
The phase-out of coal, electro mobility and renewable energies: the energy transition is a major project. What can I as an end consumer contribute?
Quite a lot. Each one of us even has a key role to play. After all, the success of the energy transition will partly be decided in daily life. Let me give you a brief example: most of the energy that we use in the home is for heating and hot water. If we don’t turn the heating up so much in the rooms we seldom use, such as the hall or the guest room, we are already saving energy. Here is where we as a real estate service provider come in, making energy consumption transparent with the heating cost bill. So we help customers to save energy and costs.
Do ista employees set a good example?
Of course they do (laughing). That is also evidenced in our sustainability report that we publish voluntarily every year. With this report we systematically and continuously record our consumption of resources and consider how we can become even more efficient. And we are very successful in that. For example, we managed to cut our CO2 emissions considerably and, at the same time, offset large amounts of CO2 – for instance by collaborating with Deutsche Post, printers and paper producers. But that’s not all; our energy consumption has also fallen again – by 6% in comparison to 2016. That is in no small part thanks to our energy teams that implement the requirements of our energy management system to ISO 5001 at each one of our 24 German branches.
We have achieved these and many other successes by not just creating transparency with our sustainability report but also by raising our employees’ awareness. What is also crucial is the personal commitment of our CEO Thomas Zinnöcker, who attaches great importance to the subject. And for good reason: after all, sustainability is part of our core business and is therefore part of the company’s DNA.
How does this all translate into the daily working life of the ista employees?
In France, there are many projects on the subject of “smart mobility”. They include a cooperation agreement with WeNow. The aim is to make driving a car more ecological through the use of smartphone apps. In Denmark a special server technology is used that is particularly energy-efficient. And many projects are also being launched on the initiative of employees from the different countries. In Poland, for instance, they had an eco-month last year during which our colleagues did eco-friendly activities every day, for example: they went a day without using a printer, had a car-free day or took part in an eco-quiz. In their neighbouring country, the Czech Republic, the employees collected old electronic devices. That had both ecological and social benefits as the waste was recycled and the proceeds were donated to a welfare organisation.
What is your personal energy-saving tip?
Just take one thing that you want to change in your daily life – whether it is switching the computer to standby during your daily lunch break, or turning the monitor off when you go home in the evening, or opening the windows full for a short time rather than leaving them permanently on tilt – it doesn’t matter what it is, if we do it every day, each one of us makes a contribution.