This is what climate protection looks like.

A good climate pays off.

Occupational Safety and Climate Protection - Every Degree Counts


Many studies prove that the frequency of accidents at work is closely related to the room temperature. Heat at the workplace makes workers feel uncomfortable, which reduces their performance capacity and increases the risk of accidents. Pro-duction facilities in particular often need to be air-conditioned in summer. This consumes a lot of energy and is a costly business, especially in view of rising elec-tricity prices.  And the need for air conditioning is set to increase in the future. That is one of the findings of the study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which also draws up the world climate report. According to IPCC , in the course of the 21st century there will be a lot more days with hot and ex-tremely hot temperatures - two to five times as many, depending on the calculated scenario. This poses a special challenge to companies that produce under hot con-ditions, like nordform Max Storch, a thermoplastics processor.

The temperature in the factory unit at nordform is always above 26 degrees Celsius. "That is perfectly normal," says Plant Manager Rainer Knobloch, "because as the name indicates, it takes heat to form thermoplastics." In the summer, when the sun shines on the plant, the temperature indoors climbs even higher. "On hot summer days, we've had temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius in here. Cooling with a conventional air conditioning unit would have sent our costs through the roof. An effective unit is expensive to buy and consumes an enormous amount of electric-ity," Mr. Knobloch explains. What's more, with rising electricity prices and the cli-mate protection debate, he considered it behind the times to invest in a conventional air conditioning system.

Rainer Knobloch preferred not to invest in an old-fashioned air conditioning concept. So he looked for a solution that made economic sense and would help protect the climate at the same time. "Our first step was to replace the conventional acrylic light domes in our factory unit with heat-reflecting PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP?. The infra-red-reflecting pigments in this material keep out three times as much heat as conven-tional acrylic," Mr. Knobloch says. Replacing the light domes has already had an ef-fect: "The room temperature on sunny days is about three degrees lower. Our work-ers are naturally pleased, because in the hot conditions we work in, every degree less is a welcome relief." In fact, at hot workplaces, the risk of accidents drops with every degree Celsius reduction in room temperature. That is the current state of scientific research as documented in the "Climate at the Workplace" report of the German Fed-eral Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

It took very little effort to replace the light domes, and brought a further benefit for nordform's workforce: "The lighting conditions in the rooms are much more pleasant because PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP? diffuses daylight. That dispels harsh shadows," Mr. Knobloch reports.
 
As the next step, Mr. Knobloch is planning to install solar cells on the factory unit roof. These are meant to capture even more solar heat and help to generate energy. "On top of that, we are going to use the waste heat from the forming process to drive turbines and produce electricity." Fine-tuning of the comprehensive air-conditioning system is planned for 2009. Instead of consuming more electricity for air condition-ing, this holistic approach will cut costs on a durable basis. Rainer Knobloch is con-vinced: "As a company, we benefit from cost savings. Our staff benefit from an im-proved climate at the workplace, and we all benefit from helping to protect the cli-mate. The quick and easy replacement of the light domes has already had great ef-fects. Now we can go on to plan the next steps."


Product brochure as PDF:
Energy-Saving Heat Shield for Factory Units and Office Buildings with PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP?. Download PDF

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