GE’s facility in Hürth, Germany embraces an energy-saving culture
In Hürth, Germany, located just outside of Cologne, the GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies team is used to finding things in unexpected ways. The site adapts portable medical technology for use in industrial applications, such as applying ultrasound to inspect the structural integrity of customers’ operations in the oil and gas, power generation, aerospace and automotive industries.
Since the late 1990s, the Hürth location has vastly improved its own energy efficiency by looking for energy savings through on-site “treasure hunts,” the name for energy audits aimed at reducing GE’s carbon footprint. From 2007 to 2008, energy efficiency on site improved by more than 80 percent while growing at around 15 percent each year.
The energy efficiency improvements at Hürth have been driven by several projects, including converting the site’s water heating system to city-supplied hot water instead of on-site oil-fired furnaces, and upgrading lighting systems to daylight dependent control technology. The site also upgraded air conditioners and installed motion sensors to save energy after hours. Since 2007, the site has been operating on two separate electricity systems — one that carries the base 24-hour electrical load for the building, and another dedicated to systems during working hours only, which can be completely switched off after hours. The team has also implemented a communications strategy to drive responsible energy behavior site-wide.
In recognition of its efforts in 2008, the Hürth site received an eCO2 Award, which recognizes GE facilities that have achieved at least five percent GHG reduction.