We've had a few stories about smaller snowboard and backcountry ski companies heading off down a green path. I think this is the first time we've had a mainstream ski manufacturer on side. The Fischer Sports Group have just announced that the thermal energy for the production and heating of their plants which make Fischer Skis has gone 100% renewable.
Their Ried, Austria factory has been into this gig since 2001, but recently their other plant in Mukachevo, Ukraine, which has 950 folk pumping out 700,00 pairs of skis (alpine and nordic), also joined the initiative.
The renewable energy is not solar or wind, but biomass, which in the case of Austrian plant is derived from woodchips. 180 square metres of bark, wood chips and saw mill residues is the daily demand and this required that a special railway line be built to the factory to cope with the throughput, which in turn generates 7,700 kW for the boiler, 6,200 heat output and 900 kW for cooling.
According to a case study (PDF) prepared by the Commission of the European Communities Directorate General for Energy and Transport, the Austrian plant required a total investment of € 3,780,000, but annually saves Fischer 2.5 million kilograms of heavy fuel oil, and 9.4 million kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
Aside from their energy endeavours, which which they are Energy Globe Award winners, Fischer are also active in other environmental projects. For example, they note that they skis undergo thermal recycling to product energy and heat for Austrian households - the steel is recycled into more steel. Special water treatment plants have seen them reduce their industrial water use by 40%.
When we mentioned above that Fischer were a mainstream ski company, we were alluding to them having been around since 1924, and having had their skis on the feet of almost half of all Alpine and Nordic Olympic medalists since 1976. So it is pleasing to see that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
It is, no doubt, a business imperative too -- no snow, no business -- as this little collection of past stories indicates:
• Climate Change Closes the World's Highest Ski Run
• Snowfall in Australia's Snowy Mountains Down 40% - Climate Change to Blame
• Climate Change in Alps to Leave Europe High and Dry
:: Fischer Sports Group, via Teton Gravity Research
Photos: Fischer Sports
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