The European market leader in rainwater harvesting is expecting to save 2000 lorry journeys per year.
The sustainable water management specialist, GRAF opened its plant in Neuried (Ortenaukreis) on Monday, July 18th. The southern Baden family business produces, among other things, large tanks for storing rainwater and is thus responding to a sharp increase in demand, which is being driven by climate change. In the future, around 80 people will be employed at production facility and the logistics centre. Neuried is the fourth premises of the family company in the region and is conveniently located between the headquarters in Teningen, the raw materials competence centre in Herbolzheim, where the company processes recycled plastics for its own production, and the plant in Dachstein (Alsace). According to their own estimates, this allows GRAF to save more than 2,000 lorries journeys per year.
“We are very happy that we can now really get going at our new location in the region. We worked very hard to ensure that we could stay on this line between our locations. This also helps us to make our contribution to reducing CO2 emissions,” said Otto P. Graf, the company’s Managing Director, at the opening of the new plant, which has been created in response to the growing global demand for it’s sustainable water management solutions. Especially in summers like this, when persistent heat waves are causing drought and falling groundwater levels not only in our region but also throughout Europe and tap water is already being rationed in some places, GRAF products can make an important contribution to the solution. “The value of collected rainwater will continue to rise in the coming years – both for environmental and climate protection in general and financially for our end customers,” said Otto P. Graf confidently and optimistically for the future: “We will with our locations, which are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, we will continue to be able to fine-tune new climate protection ideas and get innovations off the ground.” The number of employees recently rose to 650.
The continuous growth, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, caused the existing plants to reach their capacity limits. “We are very happy that we can now occupy a large area in our business park with GRAF,” said Josef Lieb, Managing Director of the Ba-Sic Kehl Neuried special-purpose association. Especially since it is a sustainable company from the region. “Especially when you see the innovative strength with which the company is at work,” says Lieb.
The new plant, for which GRAF spent 30 million euros on, is located in the BA-SIC business park in Kehl-Neuried and has an area of 10 hectares. A fifth of this is green space. With a total area covering 38,500 m², the halls are the largest building in the local area. Large rainwater harvesting tanks, rainwater retention and firefighting water storage tanks will all be produced here. The plastic tanks have a capacity of up to 122,000 l and are manufactured in a resource-saving manner.
The European market leader now uses more than 70 percent of the raw materials it needs from recycled raw materials, a large part of which is produced in-house at the raw materials competence centre, in Herbolzheim, where post-consumer plastic waste is recycled. “By using this to produce new environmental solutions, we are making a double contribution to more sustainability,” explained Otto P. Graf. Long-lasting environmental products are made from short-lived packaging. Non-electric powered sewage treatment plants, which GRAF developed for the French market, will also be built in Neuried in the future. The new, directly connected logistics centre serves as a central warehouse for the production of GRAF products in the region.
However, environmental protection and sustainability are not only the focus of the GRAF products, they were also an essential consideration when planning the new location. The buildings are extensively insulated, the facades are green and heat is recovered throughout the plant. Toilets and building cleaning use rainwater, excess stormwater is completely seeped away on the property. GRAF played a key role in developing the innovative machine technology in production together with the manufacturer. It saves 90% of the energy compared to previous technologies and standards. From Autumn, a photovoltaic system will also provide sustainable energy at the site, and a project to use electricity and gas from the neighbouring biogas plant is already underway. Gas is currently still used to manufacture the large tanks. From 2023, this will be partially replaced by our own electricity.
And the employees also benefit from the highest environmental standards: soundproof ceilings reduce background noise in the factory and thus enable a good working atmosphere. The workshop also offers a comfortable temperature even in midsummer without having to be constantly cold – a sophisticated control system allows the building to cool down overnight.