Proving our Sustainability
Proving our Sustainability
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Broadcast and Media Newsletter 26-Jan-2021

Proving our sustainability credentials at the VideoTech Innovation Awards

Last month, Rohde & Schwarz was shortlisted for the Sustainability category of the VideoTech Innovation Awards, which are run by Digital TV Europe. Sustainable operations are a key strategic priority for Rohde & Schwarz, so it’s interesting to investigate what the award focussed on.

At Rohde & Schwarz, we strictly apply the guidelines of EcoDesign during the entire life cycle of a product - from the extraction of raw materials to production, distribution, usage, recycling or disposal. We use our findings about the usage behaviour, durability and reparability of products to improve our processes and further avoid pollutants and waste.

Wherever possible, we use highly integrated, energy-efficient components based on state-of-the-art technologies. In addition to reducing material costs, component integration also enables us to build compact plants and significantly reduce our energy and raw material requirements.

R&S designs recyclable products based on modularity for easy maintenance, which makes disassembly easier and increases our recycling rate to the maximum.

A recent example how R&S products are contributing to a better environmental impact for R&S customers is the US FCC repack. Back in 2016, the US FCC started a process to repurpose the 600 MHz spectrum from broadcasting to mobile phone operation. As a result, 987 TV stations needed to change to different channels between April 2017 and July 2020. Most of their high power transmitters were based on old tube technology that were not supported anymore by their manufacturers.

Rohde & Schwarz supported the Repack project with hundreds of highly efficient transmitters. While old tube-based transmitters were operating in average around 25% energy efficiency, the newly installed R&S transmitters reach around 40%. At the 13 MW Total Power Output (TPO) of all transmitters combined, our customers can save close to 470,000 kWh each day.  Based on an average of 0.99 pounds CO2 per kWh (according to eia.gov) this translates to almost 85,000 tons CO2 saved each year from now on.

We are compliant to RoHS-, China-RoHS and REACH requirements, and we professionally recycle all mandatory products in accordance with the European Union's WEEE directive. Through ISO 14001 compliance, Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates a commitment to pollution prevention, compliance and continual improvement, as well as dedication to our staff and the communities where we operate.

Sustainable Production and Locations

Optimising our environmental footprint also includes consistent improvements at production sites. Focusing on renewable energy as a driver to a sustainable future, we have invested in photovoltaic systems and block-type thermal power stations. Three out of four locations already run on green electricity, the fourth to follow by early 2021. This will have reduced our CO2 footprint by up to 75% between 2017 and 2021. Rohde & Schwarz is ambitious to have all heat and cooling systems covered by ground heat and biogas by 2024, which will lower the CO2 footprint to almost zero.

By manufacturing our products ourselves, we avoid a great amount of pollution and environmental damage that would otherwise occur due to logistics. However, we do not stop there. Our modern “green” buildings include mostly LED lighting with brightness and presence detectors. Our new buildings achieve higher efficiency and utilization degrees by heating and cooling ceilings. A pilot project at our offices sees us installing a system to adapt the room temperature automatically to any kind of weather. Charging stations for electric cars and bikes for our employees and customers are currently under construction, too.

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