Balancing economics and ecology is a core aspect of Audi’s identity. The company takes a transparent approach to environmental protection at the company and gets every employee involved in the related activities. This ensures that Audi systematically meets its environmental goals. The Audi Production System (APS) has been used intensively for this purpose in recent years as a means of implementing the company’s environmental policy at all levels. By participating in the fourth Bavarian Environmental Pact, AUDI AG makes important contributions not only to sustainable development but also to environmental protection.
Along the way to sustainable mobility, it is essential that the environmental balance of an automobile’s entire lifecycle is optimized even before the first kilometer is driven. The company is therefore working hard to improve the carbon footprints of its manufacturing sites. AUDI AG has set itself the target of reducing its specific CO2 emissions by 25 percent by the year 2018 compared with emissions in 2010. With respect to energy supply at Audi’s German sites, there are plans to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent per reference unit by 2020. Audi is also pursuing its vision of manufacturing of all vehicles made in Ingolstadt completely CO2-neutral and free of waste water. The other sites will gradually follow.
Environmental protection also means using natural resources sparingly. For instance, it is important to reduce noise emissions, waste water and energy consumption. Compared with figures from 2010, the entire Group has targeted a 25 percent reduction per reference unit by 2018 with regard to each of the following environmental factors: energy, fresh water, waste to be disposed of and organic solvents (volatile organic compounds).
Examples at the Ingolstadt site:
Audi increasingly using ecological electricity at its production facilities. Since early 2012, for instance, the entire Ingolstadt plant has been running on electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
Audi uses “green trains” powered by renewable electricity to transport its cars from its headquarters in Ingolstadt to the North Sea shipment port in Emden. Savings in 2015 amounted to 8,305 tons of CO2 compared with conventional rail transport.
A modern plug-in hybrid locomotive has been in use in Ingolstadt since November 2015 for switching duties on the railway tracks. Compared with a conventional locomotive, emissions can be reduced significantly (up to minus 70 percent).
In order to test innovative technologies in the field of photovoltaics, Audi has installed photovoltaic modules at its headquarters site in Ingolstadt. Meanwhile, more than 23,000 square meters (247,000 square feet) of solar panels have been installed. The total output of all the solar cells at the Ingolstadt plant is approximately 1,800 MWh each year. More than 40 percent of that is utilized on site – by production facilities, for example – with virtually no transmission losses.
Since 2004, the Ingolstadt site has been supplied via a district heating system with waste heat generated at the municipal waste-incineration plant. The next stage of the district-heating network became operational in 2012. This makes waste heat available from the nearby Gunvor refinery. All in all, at least 120,000 MWh of energy from waste heat is utilized every year.
Particular emphasis is placed on the efficient use of energy also at the new Audi production facility in Münchsmünster. As well as using a highly efficient cogeneration unit, which provides both heat and electricity, the waste heat produced by air compressors is fed back into the heating network. In addition, panel radiators are operated with process heat and a heat exchanger is used in the hall ventilation system. The Münchsmünster production facility uses 100-percent ecological electricity (hydroelectric power). During the development of the site, Audi developed a comprehensive biodiversity concept. Peripheral areas and unused parts of the site have been made into near-natural habitats for numerous types of animals and plants durch. The objective of this concept is to promote biological diversity as well as the protection of nature and species.
Environmental protection is important also at the new Audi Neuburg site. The supply of electricity and heat there is CO2-neutral: Audi uses energy from regenerative sources in Neuburg. The site is supplied with remote heating from waste industrial heat and with ecological electricity from hydroelectric power plants. Furthermore, waste heat from the motorsport test benches is utilized. Audi has received the Gold Certificate of the German Association for Sustainable Building for the sustainable construction of the customer building.
Environmental protection at Audi does not end at the factory gate. The Eichenwald Research Project started back in 2008. In addition to the first test area near Ingolstadt, the project now covers various areas near the sites in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium) and Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) with a total of 95,000 trees. The Audi Environmental Foundation was established in 2009 and has assumed long-term scientific support for this project.
The basis for Audi’s environmental commitments is its environmental-management systems at the company’s sites. The European Union’s exacting Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was introduced at the Ingolstadt site in 1997 and has been steadily optimized ever since. In April 2012, DEKRA Certification GmbH (an environmental assessment company) recertified the Ingolstadt site’s environmental-management systems according to EMAS specifications and ISO 14001:2004. The site has thus maintained its EMAS seal of approval for more than 19 years. Furthermore, the Audi plant in Ingolstadt complies with the new DIN EN ISO 50001 standard with especially demanding requirements for systematic and ongoing reductions in energy consumption. (www.audi.de/umweltschutz).