Award for new energy efficiency networks

At the annual conference of the Learning Energy Efficiency Networks on 29 September 2015 in Berlin around 200 participants shared their experiences of generating and operating energy efficiency networks. In addition, six LEEN networks, which have been set up in the last 12 months, received an award.

© Projekt LEEN 100 plus/Maelsa
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMUB, opnend the annual conference of the Learning Efficiency Networks.
© Projekt LEEN 100 plus/Maelsa
The six LEEN networks, set up in the last twelve months, were honoured at the annual conference 2015: Head of government department Franzjosef Schafhausen of the BMUB (middle) presented certificates of participation to representatives of the networks.
© Projekt LEEN 100 plus/Maelsa
from left to right: Otto Klatte, Nicole Meier, Marcel Wickart, Mareike Hoffmann and Christian Metzger debated in a panel discussionled by Helmut Sendner how to best start networks.

The annual conference of the Learning Efficiency Networks (LEEN Networks) took place in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The event which was organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the Foundation for Resource Efficiency and Climate Protection (STREKS) attracted around 200 representatives from industry, consulting firms, energy agencies, and the banking sector, as well as politics and different associations. They received information about the current developments of the LEEN networks for larger companies (LEEN classic) and SME (described as the efficiency programme “Mari:e“).

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMUB, called the standard of the LEEN networks a benchmark for emerging energy efficiency networks as the results of an average company of the 30 pilot networks are remarkable, “About 1,000 tons of CO2 are saved after three to four years and energy costs are reduced twice as quickly as in the average German company. If we calculate this figure for 500 networks we can save five million tons of greenhouse emissions until 2020. This is a huge contribution towards our climate protection targets“, said the Parliamentary State Secretary.

Professor Eberhard Jochem (Director of the Foundation STREKS) outlined that the project “LEEN 100 plus“ makes it possible for all emerging networks to make use of about 100 well-tested guidelines and 20 calculation tools free of charge. Furthermore, the first ten new LEEN networks are subsidized with 4,000 euro per participant – four of these are still open to applicants. “The LEEN networks are the start of many innovative ideas for products and processes as well as organizational methods“, said Jochem. Examples are highly efficient ventilators, a system to measure and manage energy for SME, innovations for powder coating and the campaigns “Energy Scouts“ for apprentices and “Energy partners“ for production. Thus, the LEEN networks are becoming catalysts for innovation with many ideas for technology production.

Stefan Besser, responsible in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for the campaign by the government and trade associations for setting up 500 energy efficiency networks by 2020, reported on the start of this campaign about 300 days after it was signed: Many networks have started work since December 2014 or are currently being established. The associations and chambers, involved with this initiative, actively supporting this campaign and setting up more networks. The minimum standard to be recognized as an energy efficiency network is defined and Internet site of the initiative has been online for a few days. A decision about the office of the initiative will be made in the coming weeks. 
Head of government department Franzjosef Schafhausen (BMUB) awarded the six LEEN networks, set up in the last twelve months. He presented certificates of participation to representatives of six networks which are in operation:

  • Energieeffizienz- und Klimaschutz-Netzwerk Frankfurt Rhein-Main
  • EnBW Netzwerk Energieeffizienz Schwaben
  • EnergieEffizienz-Netzwerk für Ettlinger Unternehmen
  • EnergieEffizienz-Netzwerk Südwestfalen I
  • Energieeffizienz-Netzwerk der IHK zu Lübeck
  • Energieeffizienz-Netzwerk für Unternehmen in Bayern

In his eulogy Schafhausen praised the initiators, network supporters and companies for being dedicated to lowering their emissions at a profit, starting with the prescribed energy audit, the network target, the regular exchange of experiences, and on-site inspections to the annual monitoring of their energy costs. By participating in the network it is possible to save an average of 180,000 euro on energy costs per year and company. The project “LEEN 100 plus“ also supports the initiative for 500 networks by making the LEEN management system available free of charge and giving free advice for setting up networks.

In Switzerland, where the idea of energy efficiency originated in the 1980s, their market penetration – also for SME – is well ahead of Germany. Dr Armin Eberle revealed their secret of success: When participating in a network and setting individual targets, the CO2 tax (currently 60 Swiss francs per ton) and the detailed regulations of the cantons do not apply. This is an incentive for network participants to permanently set themselves new goals – and to reach them. Compared to Switzerland, Germany has a potential of 25,000 participating companies in the large networks and the same number of SMEs.

A panel discussion led by Helmut Sendner (journal Energy & Management) showed how to best start networks: Otto Klatte (EnBW AG), Nicole Meier (IHK Heilbronn-Franken), Marcel Wickart (Zurich Municipal Electric Utility), Christian Metzger (Michelin Reifenwerke AG & Co. KGaA) and Mareike Hoffmann (ÖKOTEC Energy Management GmbH) could give the audience some tips based on their experience of networks: Important aspects are an informative meeting with a famous local personality and with the energy manager of a company with a lot of experience of a network, personal communication with energy managers of the companies that are potential participants as well as information from managers or owners, for example as part of annual discussions with the high street bank or the local electricity company.

In the afternoon two simultaneous events dealt with practical experiences: The session “LEEN Classic“ offered information about networks for larger companies which have annual energy costs of more than 500,000 euro.

Volker Korten (BSH-Hausgeräte GmbH), Professor Ulrich Wagner (Technical University Munich, Cluster Energy Technology) and Thomas Wagner (EnBW AG) gave insights into practical aspects. The session “Mari:e/LEEN-Compact“ offered information for smaller companies with energy costs of up to 500,000 euro per year. Nicole Meier (IHK Heilbronn-Franken), Kathrin Ostertag (IHK Lübeck), Rainer Hertel (Interessengemeinschaft Energieeinkauf Lübeck) and Andreas Lahme (Volksbank Paderborn-Höxter-Detmold) shared their experiences and talked about prospects that are now opening up.

Further information and all documents on the conference can be found at

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.

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