ESG as a Business Strategy

ESG as a Business Strategy

High-Performance Solutions for Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) are designed to create comfort and a safe and healthy indoor environment. However, to accomplish this, these kinds of systems consume approximately 40% of all the energy used in buildings. Thereof, Belimo estimates that two-thirds of the energy is used for cooling and one-third for heating purposes.

Building automation and control systems not only optimise the parameters of indoor comfort but can also substantially reduce energy consumption. To quantify the energy leverage of its field devices and assess their impact over the entire lifecycle of a typical HVAC system, Belimo established an impact model in 2019. This allows the company to better understand where energy optimisations in our value chain have the strongest leverage.

The Belimo Energy-Impact Model

Belimo has structured its energy-impact model along six lifecycle steps: 

  1. Resources: The model considers the “grey” energy content included in materials used to build a typical field device (steel, copper, aluminium, plastics, electronics, and cardboard).
  2. Manufacturing: Also considered in our model is the energy needed to manufacture, assemble, and test the field devices. 
  3. Distribution: The model considers the average amount of transportation energy needed to deliver a Belimo field device to the customer. 
  4. Operation: The model then calculates the energy a Belimo field device uses during operation, taking into account the energy used in standby mode and when it is actuated. 
  5. Energy Savings: Even though typical HVAC systems operate much the same across the world, significant variations arise due to differences between climate zones and power generation. Annual energy savings are therefore calculated based on the consumption of a typical HVAC system that operates with a global average heating and cooling load profile and with typical electrical power consumption. 
  6. Recycling: Belimo strives to minimize waste generated at the end of the life of its products. This often coincides with the end of the life of an entire HVAC system and is difficult to manage and track. 

Key Levers and Assumptions

The following levers and assumptions are key to quantifying our impact:

  • The assumed lifetime: In the model, a conservative service life of 15 years is assumed. The actual lifetime is often 20 years or longer, made possible by the high quality and reliability of components used in Belimo actuators.
  • The total leverage: It is the ratio of the energy-saving impact of a Belimo device in the field compared to all input factors. For air-side field devices, this ratio is 21, and for water-side field devices, it is 31, with a weighted average of 24.
  • The weighted CO2 impact of an air-side and water-side actuator: This figure (-1’103.25 kg CO2e) multiplied by the number of actuators shipped per year equals the total tCO2 savings of Belimo field devices.
  • The applicable efficiency class of Belimo devices: Each efficiency class stipulated by EN ISO 52120-1:2022 exhibits a different energy savings factor during operation, ranging from 55% (A types) to 29% savings (C types). For its field devices, Belimo assumes a distribution of 30% A types, 60% B types, and 10% C types.

Our Sustainability Targets and the Belimo Climate Foundation

In 2022, the weighted average impact of an air-side and water-side actuator multiplied by the number of actuators shipped (5.6 million air-side and 2.4 million water-side actuators) equaled savings of 8.4 million tons of CO2e in the application. Belimo is committed to doubling the total CO2 savings realised with its sold-field devices from 8.2 million tons of CO2e in 2021 to 16.4 million tons of CO2e in 2030. Another sustainability target includes an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Belimo-owned buildings by 2025 (Hinwil and Danbury), as measured in tCO2e relative to the 2019 output.

We also have ambitions to further reduce energy consumption per field device in standby and operation modes (step “4. Operation” of our impact model). On the application side of our impact model (step “5. Energy Savings”), we focus on increasing the CO2-savings factor of our products in applications. In particular, we are striving to increase the overall savings factor of our field devices and to improve tracking of the CO2 impacts of retrofit projects.

Last but not the least, we committed ourselves to further promoting healthy indoor comfort in our customers’ buildings worldwide by increasing the sales of field devices with a positive impact on indoor air quality, in line with our mission to “Create Healthier Indoor Comfort with Less Energy” with ever greater leverage.

What is more, the company established the “Belimo Climate Foundation” in 2022. The foundation aims to increase energy efficiency in buildings housing non-profit institutions and non-governmental organisations. For this purpose, it supports selected institutions in the optimisation of their HVAC systems, thus increasing the impact of our field devices in their applications (read our press release for more information).

Box: Our Answer to Megatrends

Five megatrends account for structural growth drivers in the Belimo core markets: energy efficiency, climate change, urbanisation, safety in buildings, and digitization.

Energy Efficiency: Smart Controls

As buildings currently consume 40% of the world’s energy, with HVAC systems accounting for 40% of that figure, smart control of HVAC systems has a significant impact on global energy efficiency. In most regions of the world, regulations increasingly support raising energy efficiency standards for HVAC equipment and encouraging energy-efficiency-driven building renovations. Here, Belimo products are making a difference.

Climate Change: Energy-Efficient HVAC Solutions

Climate change affects all of us. As our field devices help to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings’ HVAC systems, Belimo has a particularly strong commitment to helping limit global warming to less than 1.5°C.

Until we transition to a carbon-free economy, however, we will have to adjust to living on a warmer planet with more extreme heat. Already today, an estimated two-thirds of the global energy consumption of HVAC systems is used for cooling applications and only one-third for heating applications. A hotter global climate, in combination with continuously tighter building envelopes, means the shift of global energy demand from heating towards cooling will continue. Although better-insulated buildings lower the primary energy input, they also increase the need for ventilation, which is where Belimo field devices contribute to energy-efficient solutions.

Urbanisation: Well-Being and Indoor Air Quality

As populations shift across the globe from rural to urban areas, more and more people are leading modern, urban lifestyles and are spending 90% of their time indoors. State-of-the-art building automation and reliable HVAC components are indispensable for satisfying increasing demands for pleasant room climates and healthy environments.

Safety in Buildings: Protecting Lives and Assets

Urbanisation means more buildings on less land or smaller footprints with unusual designs, mixed uses, and increasing complexity. This poses new challenges for protecting lives and assets, making technical fire protection through motorised fire and smoke control dampers more important than ever before. At the same time, high-performance HVAC systems and proper humidification strategies are required to maintain stable, safe, and healthy indoor air quality.

Digitization: Embracing the Age of Transparency

Digitization in the building automation industry offers new powerful toolsets for analysing and optimising HVAC systems. The applications for smart performance devices are seemingly endless, whether they be in the form of data analytics, monitoring, predictive maintenance, ease of installation, or digital support during the commissioning and system integration phases.


Vaibhav Pitale

Managing Director India and South West Asia, Belimo

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