At DFS, the environment plays a central role both in operations and in other areas of our company. DFS is namely a high-technology company that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. That is why we aim to incorporate environmentally friendly processes and procedures into all areas of the company and keep working on improving them. DFS ascribes to the principle of conserving resources and using renewable energy when planning, constructing or renovating buildings and facilities. We are focused on reducing our consumption of water, electricity and other energy sources as well as reducing the amount of waste we produce.
Environmentally friendly energy generation
Energy generation at DFS is organised with the environment in mind from beginning to end, starting with the generation of energy at the company-owned combined heat and power plant. This plant is specially designed for decentralised use. Such plants are considered by energy experts to be the most efficient and economic way of generating energy. DFS has been operating such a unit on its campus since 1988. At that time, this was the biggest unit of its type in Europe and shows the willingness of DFS to pursue innovative strategies.
In contrast to the conventional method of separately generating electricity, heat, steam and cold (for cooling), the co-generation technology behind such units uses only half the primary energy, reducing CO2 emissions in half. This unit is so powerful that it is used not only by DFS, but by other neighbouring companies. To make the most efficient use of the energy generated, any energy that is not needed locally is fed into the municipal power network.
Involvement in emissions trading system
As the combustion of natural gas and heating oil produces carbon dioxide, DFS is obliged to take part in the emissions trading scheme. Annually, around 25,000 tonnes of CO2 are emitted, whereby emission certificates are allocated for this exact amount. DFS aims to grow in a CO2-neutral manner and improve its eco-efficiency. Proof of this can be found in the fact that over the last few years no additional certificates had to be bought, although the demand for energy increased.
Use of solar energy and green energy
DFS has sites located all over Germany. These include not only control centres and towers but also radar and radio facilities. They all have a high demand for energy as they run around the clock, 365 days a year. As our annual electricity consumption amounts to 26,500,000 kilowatt hours, DFS has a strong interest in using renewable energy sources and minimising its impact on the environment.
DFS installed solar panels on the roof of the Air Navigation Services Academy in Langen in its continued pursuit of its goal of using sustainable sources of energy. 496 solar modules were erected over 2,500 square metres of roof space. They have been in operation since 2009.
DFS sourced the panels from a local producer because tests showed the company had the smallest CO2 footprint among the competing vendors. The amount of electricity generated can be monitored and analysed exactly. The average annual amount of electricity generated is 96,000 kilowatt hours, which corresponds to the demand of 20 single-family homes and represents a saving of 60 tonnes of CO2.
In addition, DFS has signed an electricity contract that specifies the use of 100 percent regenerative and CO2-free energy. This results in annual savings of around 13,500 tonnes of CO2 when compared to conventional electricity.
Ecological waste disposal at DFS
As in the case of energy generation, DFS also sees itself under an obligation to operate in an eco-efficient manner when it comes to the disposal of waste. Everything from waste oil to washing liquid, from batteries to organic waste is all sorted into one of the around 50 waste categories we use at DFS. Waste is sorted and analysed based on its composition and level of harm to people and the environment. There are many legal, corporate and environmental rules and regulations that all need to be met when disposing of waste. Meeting these standards is the job of the Waste Management department at DFS working with selected certified waste disposal companies. DFS sees its responsibility as stretching beyond the gates of the company and checks the waste-disposal process of its contractors. Our underlying principle is that economics cannot be the only consideration and environmental responsibility must also be considered.
Avoidance rather than disposal
The most effective approach in an ecological waste disposal concept is simply to avoid producing waste and to recycle any waste that cannot be avoided. DFS aims to separate waste at the place it occurs. This reduces the demand for natural resources, saves disposal costs and limits the harmful effects on the environment. We have achieved very good results: well over 90 percent of the waste is utilised in some way.
The small amount of waste that cannot be recycled is converted to energy under a waste-to-energy principle or harmlessly disposed of.
The sensible use of renewable energy can also be seen at our Headquarters building, which was completed in 2002. It was designed as a low-energy building and is 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional office buildings. These savings are achieved in part by the use of heat pumps. This technology cools in the summer and warms in the winter using the energy stored in the earth. Around three quarters of the cold and heat needed at our Headquarters is met by this technology.
Furthermore, the open architecture of the building ensures the optimal use of daylight and bright offices. Motion detectors register the presence of people and turn the lights on and off as necessary, which keeps the use of electricity to a minimum.
Rainwater is used to flush the toilets in the building. In 2002, DFS won a regional award from the Ministry of the Environment for the State of Hesse for the progressive environmentally friendly technology used at our Headquarters. For DFS, this award confirms our commitment to the protection of the environment.
Keeping the use of energy in focus when building or renovating
This tried-and-tested concept is reflected at DFS in ongoing and upcoming construction work, whether renovating, refurbishing or building from the ground up. The technology used at DFS requires a lot of energy, which is not just because our technical facilities are in operation around the clock. The working positions used by our air traffic controllers, the computer centres and their air-conditioning and ventilation units use a lot of electricity. DFS has also focused on optimising this technology.
Bit by bit, the air-conditioning and ventilation systems used at DFS control centres are being replaced. It kicked off in Munich in 2012. The old fans are being replaced with directly driven ones with highly efficient motors with frequency control. In addition, the air intakes in the operational and equipment rooms and the humidifying units are being optimised. The ventilation units are being equipped with a modern information system which will make energy consumption transparent and allow future energy savings to be pinpointed. This saves energy and boosts eco-efficiency at DFS. At the moment, the ventilation system at the control centre in Langen is being modernised.