With a view to further cutting our energy consumption at the Hannover location, we systematically pressed ahead with the already existing measures and initiated some additional steps in the year under review.
In recent years we have successively raised the temperature in our server rooms to 26 degrees. Conservative estimates indicate that in so doing we have reduced the electricity consumption needed to cool the server rooms by around 5%, or some 50,000 kilowatt hours, since 2012.
In 2015 we began making initial plans to relocate our backup computer centre, which we currently operate ourselves. In 2017 the time has now come: operation of the existing backup computer centre is being handed over to a professional data centre operator. The power usage efficiency ratio (PUE ratio) for such "shared" data centres is significantly lower than can be achieved in comparable self-operated facilities. The PUE metric denotes the ratio of the total amount of energy used by a computer data centre to the energy delivered to computing equipment and it thus determines the efficiency of the data centre's energy usage. This increased efficiency will result in a further considerable energy saving.
In addition, we intend to move forward with the expansion of an energy-saving, intelligent LED lighting control system. The progressive changeover to this LED technology had already commenced in 2013, and the initiative was continued in light of economic considerations. When plans are being made for new or changed processes and projects, including for example new construction activities, we ensure that LED technology is installed and that sufficient consideration is given to environmental aspects in conformity with our environmental management system.
The members of our workforce are also encouraged to make energy savings. All our employees at the Hannover location receive annual online training in efficient energy use and environmental protection at the workplace. Participation is compulsory for all members of staff.
We are also making increasing use of state-of-the-art communication capabilities in order to conserve resources in our business operations. Our standard workstations have been made more energy-efficient and hence more environmentally friendly. Notebooks, PCs and workstation printers with high energy consumption and CO2 emissions were replaced with more modern energy-efficient devices. Following the roll-out of a new integrated unified communication platform it is now possible to hold web conferences at all workstations. This is intended to further reduce the number of business trips made within the Group. With the realisation of the aforementioned measures, the IT project to restructure and optimise PC workstations ("Next Generation Workplace") has thus been completed.
In order to ensure that not only small but also larger meetings involving several participants per location can be held in the form of a web-based conference, web conference rooms have been set up; along with a camera and video technology, these are also equipped with remote white boards, thereby making it possible to share sketches and drawings made at the meeting across all locations. This tool better replicates the feeling of a face-to-face meeting. The measure is similarly intended to further reduce the number of business trips.
Even the daily commute to work offers potential scope for energy savings. For example, we offer our employees the option of teleworking. Not only does this plays a part in cutting emissions, it also promotes the compatibility of career and family life. 30.5% of the workforce employed in Hannover already makes use of this possibility.
At the beginning of 2012 we switched our electricity supply to 100% renewables and have since used power from our external energy providers that is obtained exclusively from regenerative sources. Electricity consumption in the year under review, including self-generated solar energy, stood at 9,008,650 kilowatt hours (this equates to roughly 32,431 gigajoules). In November 2013 we installed altogether 652 solar modules on the roof of the office buildings in Hannover. In the 2016 financial year 122,448 kilowatt hours of solar energy were generated through operation of the system, roughly equivalent to the power consumption of 41 two-person households. In 2016 we avoided 4,748 tonnes of CO2 emissions through our use of electricity from regenerative sources.
Electricity consumption per employee was slightly higher than in the previous year at 6,678 kilowatt hours (previous year: 6,633 kilowatt hours), which is clearly below 5-year average.
For weather-related reasons our district heating consumption in 2016 was significantly higher than in the previous year at 3,098,250 kilowatt hours (equivalent to around 11,154 gigajoules). Analysis of the district heating consumption data for our premises shows that adjusted for weather conditions the per capita consumption of 2,449 kilowatt hours per employee was just 1% higher than in the previous year (2,425 kilowatt hours) and 11% lower than the level of consumption in 2014.
In 2015 we modernised the glass facade of our main office building at Karl-Wiechert-Allee 57 and installed a weather-based, proactive heating management system from the provider MeteoViva. Analysis of the district heating consumption data shows that these measures reduced consumption – adjusted for the effects of weather conditions – by 270,728 kilowatt hours compared to the base year of 2014. This is equivalent to cutting CO2 emissions by 22.6 tonnes.