Holcim sets aside some CHF100m (EUR81m) every year to further improve energy efficiency in the Group. In 2010, a fund was set up for this purpose. The fund is an element in the Group’s comprehensive energy strategy and is financed by the proceeds from the sale of excess CO2 emissions certificates. Projects for electricity generation by means of waste heat recovery, wind power and alternative fuels as replacement of fossil heat carriers have already been approved. With these projects alone, Holcim will save around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually which is approximately as much as the annual CO2-emissions of a small town with 30,000 inhabitants.
Concrete is a highly energy and CO2-efficient building material. After water, it is globally the second most consumed commodity by volume, and vital to a functioning infrastructure. Production of the intermediate product cement is, however, energy-intensive – with thermal and electrical energy accounting for approximately 40 percent of the cost of production. In US dollar terms, energy costs have risen by around 8 percent per year over the last five years. In addition, CO2 emissions occur – 60 percent of which are caused by the chemical conversion of stone in the rotary kiln and 40 percent by the use of fossil fuels. Because the European cement industry currently emits less CO2 than it is entitled to, large sums of money are raised each year from the sale of excess emissions certificates. The reasons for this excess are the sluggish European growth and the industry’s endeavors to boost energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Holcim is leading in these areas in particular.
Holcim allocates these proceeds to a fund to promote energy efficiency – normally some CHF100m every year. The fund launched in 2010 should help ensure the realization of innovative projects across the Group in the field of heat recovery, the utilisation of alternative fuels and raw materials, as well as wind power and hydroelectricity. The objective is clear: to save fossil fuels and boost energy efficiency, resulting in an improvement in our environmental footprint and a reduction in production costs; this is particularly important against the backdrop of rising global energy costs. The energy fund is an element in the Group’s comprehensive strategy for countering these cost pressures. Holcim has produced a list of criteria for the assessment of projects to be financed. The emphasis is on economic efficiency, the potential to reduce CO2 and the possibility of multiplying innovations speedily and successfully across the Group.