Climate change concerns us all, and I’m sure that (virtually) everyone is aware of it by now. Nevertheless, I hear many voices expressing different views on the global crisis: “If the Americans aren’t on board …”, “the Chinese and the Indians with their massive populations should begin first …” or “it’s down to the politicians”. As far as their own contribution to climate protection is concerned, scepticism and acceptance seem to prevail: “What am I supposed to do as an individual?”
All this is understandable, but it’s not the way to save our planet! I have therefore decided not to wait for anyone or anything; I’m doing my bit now!
Living sustainability – in business as well as in your personal life
TÜV Rheinland, the company I work for, has made considerable progress with its sustainability strategy. Its mission is to ensure that people are protected by safety and quality standards whenever they interact with technology or the environment. Our logo, the triangle and the wave, symbolizes this guiding principle. And after many years working for the company, I still really enjoy my work. However, my contribution to sustainability doesn’t just start when I walk past the reception desk in the morning and finish when I leave in the evening. I also want to make a contribution in my personal sphere.
That’s why I decided to have a photovoltaic system installed on the roof of my home – and am now an electricity producer. A fairly recent innovation is the storage battery in my basement that supplies me with electricity at night or when the sun isn’t shining. Another interesting detail is that I have agreed a special tariff with my (green) electricity provider that allows them to use my battery whenever I don’t need it.
An intelligent solution: the swarm battery
This particular arrangement is known as a “swarm battery” system. The concept is to combine a large number of small independent power generators into a “swarm” to help ensure grid stability and maintain balance between overall power demand and supply. Of course, all energy flows are measured by an intelligent smart meter that gives me an up-to-date overview (with weekly, monthly and annual totals) of how much electricity I have generated, consumed myself or fed into the public grid. It also allows me to check the state of charge of my battery at any time.
An intelligent swarm model like this one is exactly the opposite to the “me first” principle, or the principle of “let the others try it first before I consider it myself”.
There are obviously big differences between the summer and the winter, but my energy supplier tells me that I will be a net producer rather than a consumer of electricity for the year as a whole. And our 5-person household isn’t exactly a small consumer. To answer the question that many doubters have asked – yes, in a few years’ time the system will have paid for itself and I will start to earn money from it. You can’t say that about many purchases you make.
Generate electricity yourself – or contribute another idea
Unfortunately, not everyone has a south-facing roof available to them. But I would like to invite everyone to think about how they can contribute to making this world a little better. I am sure you’ll come up with something.
My next project is already underway: replacing our petrol car with an electric vehicle. Because most of the trips I make are short, its maximum range doesn’t have to be that big. For long journeys, I can always just rent a petrol-powered car. I ride a regular, non-electric bike to the office in the morning and back in the evening as part of my physical fitness regime.
So remember: if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now. Do it!