On Volkswagen AG’s “Way to Zero”, the Transparent Factory is pursuing its mission of lived sustainability, not only as an environmentally responsible production site, but as a green location for customers, brands and institutions.
The Transparent Factory is certified in accordance with both ISO 14001* Environmental Management Systems and ISO 50001** Energy Management Systems. Environmentally friendly, energy-saving processes are therefore firmly anchored and transparently verifiable in our internal processes.
*ISO 14001 is an international environmental management standard that sets globally recognized requirements for environmental management systems, as part of a family of standards.
**ISO 50001 is a globally applicable standard that supports companies and organizations in establishing a systematic energy management structure.
The central location and easy accessibility of the site were important factors in the choice of location. The factory has excellent public transport connections. Six tram lines converge at one stop at the traffic intersection on Straßburger Platz, the sightseeing tour buses stop at the Transparent Factory, and the central railway station is only 2 km away. The MOBIpunkt station in front of the building not only includes a bikesharing station, but also offers charging opportunities for e-bikes. Additional services include a rental station for vans and minibuses from Dresden-based startup Carl und Carla and vehicles from the carsharing provider teilAuto. The parking lot contains one of the biggest public charging stations in Saxony. Now nothing stands in the way of green transport.
The Transparent Factory is located in a 8.3-hectare area within Dresden’s Grand Garden, only 100 meters away from the Botanical Garden. During its construction, around 6 millions euros were invested in the grounds, which cover an area of 50,000 square meters. As well as planting around 350 new trees, it has been possible to preserve a listed tree population that is up to 200 years old. A variety of measures promotes biodiversity: The pond around the building serves as a spawning site and habitat for frogs, amphibians and birds. Nesting boxes, insect hotels, and piles of rocks and deadwood provide a home for birds, small animals and insects. An employee takes care of the bee population that is housed on the lawns behind the logistics yard. We do our best to treat our green spaces with care and protect the habitat of all the animals living within the grounds.
The factory is supplied with Volkswagen Naturstrom© Zero energy by Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH. This is up to 100-percent CO2-free, up to 100-percent renewably sourced, and certified as “Eco-Power” by TÜV. This could save up to 3,600 tons of CO2 per year. Additionally, there are six 22-square-meter photovoltaic panels with 25 kWp peak power on the lawns in front of the factory. These generate green electricity, which is fed directly into the factory.
To avoid disturbing the flora, fauna, and human neighbors in the direct vicinity, the factory is lit using a lighting concept with reduced light emissions that nevertheless facilitates high-precision assembly work, especially at night. This is made possible by double parabolic spotlights in the production area, which indirectly and seamlessly direct the light onto the workspace via prismatic mirrors, without emitting light outside of the building. Special lamps in the outdoor areas emit light in the yellow spectral range, which does not disturb insects. The use of energy-saving LED lamps throughout the event area, as well as demand-driven lighting in the office areas, reduces overall energy consumption.
One of Volkswagen Saxony’s most important aims is to reduce waste. To achieve this, we only use reusable containers to transport our vehicle parts and largely avoid using plastic, to the greatest possible extent. The result: 0 kilograms of waste to dispose of. Our comprehensive waste management system ensures that all waste is correctly sorted and recycled. We also provide all our employees with annual training on the topic.
For us, sustainability is not just a job for the environmental officer, but teamwork. Sustainability criteria are anchored in every process chain of our organization, starting with every single one of our employees, all the way up to management level. We instill the environmental and sustainability principles outlined in our Code of Conduct in our employees through regular training sessions and workshops. Monthly topics and campaigns are communicated via the VWS employee app, as well as internal notices – and all our employees are encouraged to take part and make suggestions for improvements at any time. For example, one employee initiative resulted in the “climate cabinet”, in which management and employees alike work together to create incentives for new ways of doing and thinking. There have also been collective campaigns to plant trees, create rock piles for wildlife, and collect litter.
During the construction of the factory, care was taken not to influence the water table. At only 4.00–6.20 meters, the low depth of the building complex is designed to ensure a healthy groundwater balance. Compared to the previous building on the site, the sealed surface has been reduced from 6.7 to 5.5. hectares, not least because – unlike conventional car factories – the Transparent Factory is laid out across three floors instead of one. Rainwater that falls within the factory grounds does not drain into the city sewer system, but seeps into the ground. It is also collected in underground infiltration trenches, which slowly release the water back into the groundwater.
The factory is surrounded by ponds on three sides. These not only imperceptibly shield the building from road traffic, but also have a cooling effect on the inner city through evaporation during the summer.
To regulate the indoor climate of the factory, a double facade was developed for the production area (house-in-house principle). The internal glass wall has two layers and serves to insulate heat. The external glass wall is 60 cm apart from the internal wall, and provides protection from the sun and cools the interior with its internal lamellas. The car body warehouse and access ramp serve as an additional climate buffer. The room temperature is measured by sensors to enable heating or cooling of the interior on demand. The heat supply of the factory is CO2-free. It is generated by cogeneration plants of the municipal provider, DREWAG | SachsenEnergie. The building is cooled using an Aqua-Turbo system – a cooling system that is based solely on water and free from chemical additives, making it environmentally friendly.
The production area is supplied with fresh air by means of ceiling diffusors on the shingle conveyor – in other words, directly where the production workers are working. The targeted air supply and large room volume, with a ceiling height of 7.5 meters, enable an extremely low air change rate. In the entire factory, the air only circulates once per hour.
At the Transparent Factory, the handover of a new vehicle is a very special experience: following a tour of the ID.3 production line, the vehicle is presented in a spectacular fashion. But that’s not all: plenty is being done to make the process sustainable too.
Fully electric ID.s are delivered to the customer as a climate-neutral product in accordance with TÜV Nord standard TN-CC 020.
In addition, the factory compensates for all CO2 emissions associated with the delivery, taking into account the journey there and back, the distance, and the mode of transport.
As of July 1st, 2019, the Volkswagen Group holds its suppliers to sustainability requirements. The Code of Conduct for Business Partners is mandatory for every company in the supply chain. As well as protecting the environment, it requires suppliers to uphold human rights, comply with occupational health and safety, and implement anti-corruption measures.
Sustainability is also a mandatory criterion in the selection of our local service providers. We consider factors such as regionality and short delivery routes. Our partners already implement several sustainability concepts in their companies and work in close cooperation with us to implement further measures, such as reducing waste or CO2 emissions. Our event service providers are familiarized with our environmental requirements through annual training.
The events team of the Transparent Factory serves as the interface between the venue, business partners and event organizers. In 2022, we initiated a qualification drive for employees of the events department, who have since been trained in accordance with ISO 20121*. Our event coordination is as resource-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. This includes the use of existing media technology, avoidance of printed materials, and the use of 100% recyclable badges. We act in an advisory role to provide support with the choice of transport, catering serves and much more besides. We strictly follow the Code of Conduct of Volkswagen AG and promote diversity in the events business.
* ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management Systems sets requirements for a sustainable event management system, and was developed for the event management industry to help prioritize sustainability in the planning and execution of events.
We provide the framework for a successful, sustainable event. However, there are many more factors in the planning and execution of your event that can generate CO2 emissions. Consider alternatives and create incentives for more eco-friendly choices:
We will support you in going even greener!