The IOER takes responsibility towards the environment and society not only through its research, but also in the entire work process and in the operational organisation. The guiding principle of sustainable development is firmly integrated in our institute's mission statement and in all structures and processes of our work.
We are committed to reduce the environmental impacts associated with our activities to the lowest possible level and to further improve operational environmental protection and resource conservation. The institute building in Dresden is climate-neutral in building operation due to the integration of renewable energies and the renovated building shell. We are also guided by the principles of sustainable mobility, the principles of digital sustainability and efforts towards green IT - for example, through the use of high-quality and durable technology as well as the requirement of data minimisation. Cost-performance accounting and programme budgets contribute to transparency in the management of funds.
IOER is committed to the Leibniz Association's Sustainability Mission Statement. For many years, there has been an environmental team which, based on the participation of the IOER in the Ökoprofit project, regularly collects building data, evaluates the progress of the goals set, creates new impulses and coordinates and raises awareness of issues and measures relating to environmental and sustainability management. To structure and develop its tasks in this area, the IOER follows the Sustainability Guidelines (LeNa) for sustainability management in non-university research institutions. The Institute is also involved in the Leibniz Association's Sustainability Management Working Group.
Structurally, the IOER offers the best conditions for environmentally friendly work: The Institute's building from the 1970s was gradually upgraded in terms of energy efficiency a few years ago. The new extension was built to high environmental standards. For this, the IOER received the European Commission's GreenBuilding Award in the category "Modernisation". In the course of the renovation, the outdoor facilities of the IOER were redesigned according to ecological standards - insect-friendly and with low-watering, low-maintenance efforts. Parts of the building's roof were greened where statically possible. On the initiative of the staff, a patch of lawn was transformed into a flowering meadow. It is maintained by committed employees.
Climate protection takes place on site: By using a photovoltaic system with a gross output of 38.5 kWp on the roof of the Institute‘s building, as well as certified green electricity and district heating from a combined heat and power plant, the IOER contributes to the conservation of resources and can cover the building's energy needs from renewable sources. As a result, and due to the renovated building shell, the Institute‘s building is climate-neutral in building operation. Information on energy consumption and the performance of the solar system is provided on an ongoing basis at the Institute.
Environmental and safety perspectives are taken into account in all operational aspects at the IOER, from purchasing and consumption to recycling or proper disposal. This applies to office equipment, office and cleaning materials and, of course, the technology used. The IT infrastructure of the IOER must meet the latest requirements. This does not exclude sustainability-oriented purchasing. We therefore pay attention to a long life cycle for our technology - high-quality, energy-saving, durable, upgradeable. In order to contribute to resource conservation, refurbished technology and virtualisation are used wherever possible in the server area. Technology that can no longer be used in the Institute is given to staff or associations. A central lending service at the Institute means that less equipment has to be purchased overall.
The switch to recycled paper was a matter of course for the IOER many years ago. For this commitment, the IOER received an award from the "Pro Recycling Paper" initiative. We have changed our newsletter to an electronic version - this not only saves paper and printing costs, but also emissions that were previously generated by postal dispatch. For products that are produced externally in companies, the printing papers used are awarded with the „Blue Angel“. But this was only a beginning, because the future lies in a digital office that is as paperless as possible. Administrative processes are therefore being digitised step by step. But even here, thrift is called for. It is important to use only as many digital resources as necessary. Through organisational measures, we slow down the growth of our data stock.
Many travels are a burden on the environment. For this reason, every business trip made by the IOER is assessed for necessity and avoidability. Travel can often be avoided by using communication technologies - the IOER has invested in appropriate video conferencing technology. If this is not possible, environmentally friendly means of transport are the first choice. Air travel must serve strategic goals, especially international scientific networking. In this context, we advocate for an adjustment of the legal framework to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions of unavoidable travel. We promote sustainable mobility in our local environment by providing the job ticket as well as by using a company bicycle and charging stations for e-bikes.
The IOER always keeps a critical eye on important consumption data (including electricity, water, district heating). Energy efficiency is an important aspect when purchasing new servers, computers, monitors and other technical equipment. The building data, which is constantly collected via monitoring, is used for in-house energy and climate impact assessments. In addition, resource flows such as waste and green waste are also recorded in order to make the Institute's operations even more efficient in the long term.
Sustainability management needs information and thrives on participation. „Sustainability Days“ capture the input of all interested employees. Sustainable operation is a top priority for the Institute's management. Our environmental team regularly provides information on the intranet and at Institute meetings about measures and successes in the areas of waste separation, resource consumption, mobility management and the ecological design of outdoor facilities. Consumption figures are made transparent. This further sensitises the staff to issues of environmental protection and resource conservation.