Environmental management at UBA

EMAS logo on the face of the UBA office building in Dessau-RoßlauClick to enlarge
UBA was the first federal authority to receive the EMAS certificate for its environmental management
Source: Umweltbundesamt

In 2001 UBA was the first federal authority to implement EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) at its offices in Berlin. To date, all 15 UBA sites – including the air monitoring stations and the German Advisory Council on the Environment – have been validated according to EMAS. Their status is reviewed annually by an independent environmental verifier.

Our environmental management system at a glance

The German Environment Agency has made a firm commitment to what is currently the most demanding environmental management system. Publication of the EMAS environmental statement makes all the environmental aspects of operational environmental protection at transparent to the public.

In our Environmental Guidelines we commit ourselves to basic principles of operational environmental protection at UBA. These principles are translated into quantified and verifiable objectives and numerous measures with which to achieve them. Examples of the objectives we have set for up to 2017 include reduction of our energy consumption, generation of renewable energy, environmentally compatible mobility, and green procurement.

We regularly provide our staff with information about green workplace habits. We have adopted guidelines for environmental friendly official business travel to minimise the pollution generated by our business trips. Green procurement, which is based on our experts’ recommendations, is our regular practice. We incorporate high standards of environmental protection in the building and remediation projects at our office sites, thereby reducing their environmental impact but also increasing the practical relevance and credibility of the recommendations which we issue in this regard. We also seek to influence the environmental behaviour of our contract partners and visitors and support our cooperation partners in their efforts to practice environmental protection.

Our EMAS environmental statement, which is updated every year, covers the responsibilities, priorities, objectives and activities as well as the key indicators of our environmental management.

"EMAS Winner Awards 2014", in the background a green forest
UBA won the EMAS Award 2014 for its zero-energy “Haus 2019” office building in Berlin-Marienfelde
Source: EMAS Helpdesk

Our targets

The current priority areas of environmental management at UBA are energy saving, generation of renewable energy, mobility, biodiversity and land use, procurement, contract design as well as cooperation with other institutions. UBA defines specific, verifiable goals for each of these priority areas. UBA formulated the following goals in 2014:

Energy savings and the use of renewable energy

  • By 2017 we want to reduce the total energy consumption of our sites by 3 percent compared to 2013, from the current level of approximately 13,400 MWh to about 13,000 MWh/a.
  • The UBA’s new buildings must meet the 'gold' standard of energy efficiency according to the Assessment System for Sustainable Building of the Federal Government (BNB) and similar standards for buildings with special technical equipment (laboratories, measuring stations).
  • We want to reduce the energy demand of our datacentre at Bismarckplatz in Berlin-Grunewald by 15% by 2017, i.e. from its current level of 354 MWh to 300 MWh/a.
  • The datacentre in Dessau-Roßlau must comply with the criteria of the Blue Angel for datacentres by 2017, which will require considerable energy savings.
  • We aim to increase the capacity to generate renewable energy from 278 MWh (2013) to more than 500 MWh per year by 2017.

Environmentally sound mobility

  • Our aim is to stabilise the share of commuter ecomobility at the current high level of nearly 70 percent.
  • The CO2 emissions of our motor vehicle fleet will be reduced from about 73 t to 70 t per year by 2017.
  • We want to determine the climate impact of our official business travel and create a database with which to establish a possible carbon offsetting scheme.

Biodiversity and land use

  • We want to improve the ecological quality of land use at UBA and define and collect the appropriate indicators.
  • We want to reduce the amount of sealed area at select UBA sites.
  • We want to prioritise the use of rainwater on location and enable rainwater seepage.
  • Open-air car parks will either be partially sealed or use waterbound surfacing instead of concrete or asphalt.

Procurement and contract design

  • Environmental requirements will continue to be included and specified in all relevant supply and service contracts.
  • We want to inform all our major contract partners about our environmental guidelines and relevant UBA recommendations.
  • Events hosted by UBA will continue to be green and oriented towards the current guide for the sustainable organisation of events.
  • The climate neutrality of UBA events will be ensured by corresponding offsetting measures.

Cooperation with other institutions

  • We also want to share our experience with EMAS beyond the context of the environmental statement and make it available to other institutions.
  • We want to further develop management system standards with regard to the environment and contribute our knowledge and recommendations to relevant national and international bodies.
  • In the upcoming revision of the EMAS regulation, we will strive to ensure that organisations registered with EMAS benefit in regards to public supervision and from other economic advantages.
  • We want to promote networks in which public authorities and other institutions can exchange and add to their practical experience with environmental management systems.

Environmental programme and monitoring of environmental targets

UBA continuously updates its environmental programme with numerous measures to achieve the aforementioned targets. Environmental performance indicators and regular internal environmental audits will serve to check whether we are achieving our targets and the success of the measures of our management. We aim to dovetail the existing expertise at UBA into our management. Not only will this benefit our environmental management, our specialist work will additionally gain practical experience and credibility.