At Purmo Group, this gives us a huge responsibility. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning solutions (HVAC) are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, both in their production and in their operation. Meanwhile, as weather extremes become more common, the demand for products which control indoor temperatures is increasing.
This means that we have not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to ensure our solutions are green, our operations are efficient and the materials we use are sustainable.
We are committed to reducing emissions across the lifecycle of our products and using our influence to advance a climate smart and resilient indoor climate industry, with the help of customers, suppliers, employees and local communities.
It won’t be easy, and the actions we have committed to are challenging, to say the least. Four key areas in our immediate sights are: delivering climate smart solutions; achieving net zero in our operations; tackling the steel problem; and compliance with regulations.
Delivering Climate Smart Solutions
The heating and cooling of buildings contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. This is often because dirty energy sources are being used, even though clean HVAC solutions are available.
We are focusing our sales efforts on smart, sustainable products, and are publishing Product Environmental Profiles and Environmental Product Declarations for all our solutions for complete transparency.
Facing the Challenges
When we deliver single products to customers, our impact is limited and can be difficult to measure. Often, we do not supply the heating or cooling generators, nor design the building insulation, and these can be significant sources of energy inefficiency and carbon emissions.
To address this, we are focusing on delivering end-to-end solutions which optimise energy efficiency. These include sustainable heating and cooling sources, alignment to building and insulation systems, and smart controls and appliances. We are also working closely with our suppliers to reduce emissions across the value chain.
Meanwhile, we have undertaken to educate our customers, so they can make informed decisions about their climate control options, both at building design stage and when using energy day-to-day.
We believe tackling the problem from multiple angles will increase the delivery of climate smart and energy efficient solutions, in both the short and long term.
As a manufacturing business, we use a great deal of energy. This gives us a substantial opportunity for improvement, and ultimately we would like to eliminate emissions from our operations.
We have set targets aligned with a 1.5° C future to help us do this and we are working towards ISO 50001 certification for all our plants. We are investing in energy efficiency through measures including LED lighting, control devices, improved machinery and heat recycling, as well as energy monitoring.
We are committed to sourcing clean energy for our plants, including generating energy on our sites from Solar Photo Voltaic or wind power. By 2025 all company cars and onsite vehicles will be self-charging petrol hybrid or electric, and we will have charging points at every plant, office and warehouse.
Facing the challenges
Renewable energy supply differs across markets due to different national incentives and price fixes. This means that some markets simply don’t have the capacity to supply the renewable energy we need.
We are proud to have recently committed to setting Science Based Targets on our journey to becoming net-zero in our Scope 1,2 and 3 Green House Gas emissions by 2050. Right now, we’re in the process of planning, measuring and baselining, with the help of industry experts, to work out just how we’re going to achieve this. It won’t be easy but with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders supporting us we know we can do it.
In the interim, we are setting up an offsetting programme for emissions that we can’t currently reduce. However, we are committed to our goal, and driving hard for carbon neutrality step by step.
The Steel Problem
Steel production is highly carbon intensive. Approximately 1.85 tons of CO2 are released for every ton of cold rolled steel produced, and it accounts for a significant amount of our emissions annually.
This is bad news, as steel’s thermal conductivity makes it ideal for our products, and it accounts for over a quarter of our materials budget.
There are more sustainable solutions available, including recycled steel and green steel, which is produced with fossil-free renewable electricity combined with innovative new steel making techniques that are currently being tested and rolled out. Many suppliers are investing in solutions for sustainable steel production, but these are all likely to attract a significant price premium.
Facing the Challenges
To tackle the problem, we are identifying efficiency opportunities in our plants to reduce the amount of steel needed for our products. This will help reduce our dependency on steel and reduce our overall footprint.
We are also working with our suppliers to source steel with less embodied carbon, and we have entered into a non-binding agreement with H2 Green Steel, a Swedish start-up, to source green steel from 2026.
We are reviewing supply chains, tracing steel back to its source for full transparency, and ensuring all our suppliers meet high sustainability standards.
Steel will continue to be problematic. But by scaling down demand, exploring greener sources, and reviewing our supply chains, we are tackling it step by step.
Compliance with Regulations
The European Union has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of the EU Green Deal. Three key regulatory directives have resulted from this commitment:
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). This promotes energy efficiency in heating, cooling, lighting and operating appliances, and the use of renewable energy in buildings. The EPBD reflects many measures that we were already working towards, and will continue to influence on our sustainability strategy.
The Renovation Wave Strategy. This directive aims to double renovation rates in the next ten years and ensure building renovations mean higher energy and resource efficiency (including for HVAC). This provides many opportunities for us as it increases the need for energy efficient solutions, which we are well positioned to fulfil.
The EU Taxonomy Regulation: This establishes a common language to define sustainable investments, and takes into consideration the impact on climate mitigation, adaptation, natural resources, pollution and biodiversity. We are already using this taxonomy in our annual report, in which we also disclose the proportion of total investments which are considered sustainable by its definitions.In short, the regulatory environment reflects very closely the sustainability strategy we are pursuing. With these directives set in stone, the future is positive for an industry-wide move towards a greener HVAC sector across the EU.