We recognized early on the role that the efficient generation of heat and cold plays in creating an environment worth living in. Over the decades and through many milestones, we have made progress that helps us realize our vision of creating living spaces for generations to come.
We work to ensure that living spaces remain worth living in for generations to come by reducing emissions in cities and ensuring a healthy climate and clean air in buildings. The production of heat and cold in buildings offers huge potential for reducing our carbon footprint. Viessmann has proven a pioneer for environmentally friendly technologies in the past. Ever since the first steel boiler was manufactured in 1928, our products have stood for innovation, low fuel consumption, and high efficiency. Environmental protection has been anchored in our corporate principles since the 1970s.
In the 1970s, society’s interest in environmental protection and nature conservation grows. In 1972, Viessmann installs a wastewater treatment plant at its Allendorf (Eder) factory. Due to the oil crisis of the 1970s, new energy sources are being sought worldwide. The focus starts to shift to renewable energies. We start manufacturing solar panels in 1976 and also launch heat pumps on the market in 1978.
The public are increasingly turning their attentions to environmental issues. In the 1980s, the focus in combustion technology is on reducing pollutant emissions further. Viessmann recognizes that oil and gas are particularly low-polluting when the boiler and burner form a single unit. In 1981, we start supplying unit oil burners for Vitola boilers, which are preset and hot-tested on the boiler in the factory. The low-temperature boilers developed by us can be operated without a lower temperature limit and switched off when no heat is required. For this purpose, we develop a completely new type of boiler heating surface: the biferral composite heating surface goes down in the history of heating technology. The success is reflected in sales: in 1988, the one millionth Vitola boiler leaves Allendorf (Eder). In the same year, we set up the Environmental Protection department in the company, though we already appointed our first Environmental Protection Officer in 1985.
The greenhouse effect and the climate change associated with this become the predominant environmental issue. The development of condensing boiler technology is a key step towards reducing harmful emissions. Condensing boilers consume up to 30 percent less energy than standard boilers and lead to correspondingly lower carbon emissions. In mid-1992, we launch the condensing boiler Mirola on the market. Its emissions are significantly below the world’s most stringent limits.
In the same year, Viessmann becomes the first company in the heating technology industry to declare environmentally friendly production, recycling, and disposal as a corporate goal, and commits to continue developing environmentally friendly heating technology. In 1994, we issue the first environmental statement. We receive several awards for our environmentally friendly products, for example, the European industry’s environmental award for the MatriX radiation burner in 1994. In 1995, the Viessmann factories in Allendorf become the first in the heating technology industry and the second in Germany to be certified according to the EMAS eco-audit.
As a founding member of the “Umweltallianz Hessen” (Hessian Environmental Alliance) in 2000 and the “Klimaschutz Unternehmen” (Climate Protection Companies) initiative, we are actively committed to preserving resources and protecting the environment. As early as 2001, our Vitosol 300, a high-performance vacuum tube collector, wins the Saxon Environmental Award. We are also continuously improving environmental protection in our own company. In 2003, we sign an agreement under public law with the district president in Kassel to reduce emissions in the heating center at the Allendorf (Eder) plant. In 2004, we are named “Glanzlicht der Umweltallianz Hessen” (Highlight of the Hessian Environmental Alliance) by the Hessian Minister of the Environment Wilhelm Dietzel.
In 2005, we initiate our landmark project “Effizienz Plus” (Efficiency Plus) for resource efficiency, climate protection, and safeguarding our sites. The new energy concept follows the two-pronged energy policy strategy of increasing efficiency and substituting fossil fuels with renewable energies. An essential part of our energy center of the future is the world’s first power-to-gas plant that uses a novel microbiological process to generate methane. In addition to energy efficiency, we also significantly increase material and work efficiency.
When the Federal Ministry of the Environment, the Federal Ministry of Economics, and the DIHK (German Chamber of Industry and Commerce) set up the German industry climate protection group in 2009, Viessmann is one of the first four founding members.
Thanks to our “Effizienz Plus” project, we already meet the German government’s ambitious energy targets for 2050 by 2012. To further reduce CO2 emissions, in 2012 the Allendorf (Eder) site starts exclusively using environmentally friendly hydroelectric power generated in Germany. The result: CO2 emissions have fallen by 80 percent compared to 2005. In 2014, we become the first supplier to launch a series-produced fuel cell heater on the market. Fuel cells are efficient, eco-friendly, and reliable.
In Germany, the heating sector accounts for 45 percent of CO2 emissions. A modern heating system helps to reduce CO2 emissions by around one ton per year compared to an old boiler. Of the some 730000 appliances we sell per year, 80 percent are used for modernization. As a result, at least 500000 fewer tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of the yearly consumption in the city of Frankfurt am Main.
At Viessmann, preparations are underway for the generation change and digitalization is being driven forward as indispensable for the energy revolution’s success. We recognized digitalization’s potential for our own company’s success early on and provide specialist tradesmen with a comprehensive range of digital products and services.
As part of the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the company and in the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport, and Regional Development, Tarek Al-Wazir, we inaugurate our new center for research and development “Technikum” on April 12, 2017. Professor Dr. Martin Viessmann calls the Technikum “our hotbed of innovation for the energy revolution and digitalization.” Here, we pool together our development activities throughout the entire product creation process – from the idea to series production. Costing 50 million euros, it is the largest single investment in the company’s history.