|Griesbacher GmbH – Overcoming market challenges with the helping hand of apprentices
Griesbacher is a small high-grade furniture producing company in South-Eastern Styria/Austria with a team of 15 masters, foremen and employees. This region is well known for its various excellent woodwork shops and its sought-after meticulous and skilled craftsmen. As some mellow remnants of rather big volcanoes from millions of years ago dominate parts of the landscape there, a group of local joineries, including Griesbacher, pooled their marketing activities under the logo www.tischler-vulkanland.at („joineries of the volcanoe country“).
Like everywhere in Europe, companies are under rising ethic and economic pressure to comply with the challenges of the warming climate. But for specialized joineries working very often for a sophisticated and demanding clientele in prosperous cities, this can even be a disruptive marketing condition for their further survival, if they cannot show to potential customers their active contribution for a CO2-reduction. So Griesbacher decided to review their energy accounting, trying to reduce external energy demand and to get certified under ÖNORM EN ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems. However, they had nobody experienced in these tasks in the team and were interested to engage an experienced specialist.
This was the situation when they got to know a female student who was very versed in energy efficiency from her techno-economic course and was especially keen to help companies to become more climate-conscient.
Soon after a pleasant first meeting, the company was confident the student could help them to collect all the – partly confidential – data in the workshop (and of course – also relying that she would keep them confidential!) and to prepare the necessary papers for a certification. So the student was engaged for an apprenticeship of about 5 months.
The status-quo of all energy-relevant data – heat, electricity, compressed air – was collected, and the data compared with benchmark averages of the industry. The efficiency of available solar panels was checked, and variants for placement, orientation and manufacturer discussed. This included the establishment of the load profile of a typical working day of the company, and an adjustment with the exploitability of local natural resources. A series of measurements had to be made and mathematical simulations calculated. At the end of the engagement, the certification procedure was prepared, together with all guides and directories necessary. As the student had to leave after her time there and had no possibility to supervise a certification procedure, she also searched for consultants to accompany the process later on.