In mid-October, Digital TV Europe (DTVE), creator of the VideoTech Innovation Awards announced that Rohde & Schwarz has been shortlisted for its Sustainability Award. The shortlisting relates to R&S transmitter products, especially associated with the US Repack initiative – read more here.
Rohde & Schwarz has always put great emphasis on environmental awareness and protection. With the help of our integrated management system, we can ensure that we put the goals outlined in our corporate philosophy into practice effectively, and that we continually improve our processes and activities. We consider sustainability as a comprehensive term and act on different levels of environmental protection.
This is relevant to Rohde & Schwarz’s transmitter business, as much as any other part of our business operations.
Resource consumption as a keyword. While old tube-based transmitters were operating in average around 25% energy efficiency, the newly installed R&S transmitters reach around 40%. Beyond that, we consistently achieve improvements by product life cycle assessments (according to our EcoDesign guidelines). Achieving a significant reduction in power consumption is an important technical goal for every new generation of devices we develop. One approach is to integrate intelligent power management solutions – both in modules and in the proprietary application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that are key components in most of our devices.
Sustainable Production and Locations
We focus on making our buildings more modern and “green”, we continuously optimize our processes and invest in more efficient equipment. We reduced CO2 emissions by up to 75%, aiming at a close to zero CO2 footprint until 2024. Emissions from logistics are comparatively low due to our great added-value depth.
Sustainable Products and Solutions
We act along 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 by 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 high power TV stations were forced to change to a different channel between April 2017 and July 2020. Most of these high-power transmitters were based on old tube technology that was not supported anymore by their manufacturers.
Rohde & Schwarz supported the realization of 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 help saving 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 the ISO 14001 compliance, Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates its commitment to pollution prevention, compliance and continual improvement, as well as its dedication to its employees and the community.
Sustainable Production and Locations
Considering environmental footprints also includes consistent improvements at the production sites and locations of the manufacturers.
Focusing renewable energy as a keyword to a sustainable future, we have a photovoltaic system and block-type thermal power station. 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 until 2024, which will lower the CO2 footprint to almost zero.
An essential contribution to environmental protection is our great added-value depth and in-house production. By doing many steps of manufacturing 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 permit higher efficiency and utilization degrees by heating and cooling ceilings. As an innovative pilot project, we installed a system to adapt the room temperature automatically regardless of weather conditions. Charging stations for electronic cars and bikes for our employees and customers are currently under construction, too.