BJERRINGBRO, DENMARK — In early October, Grundfos invited trade media from North America and South America to visit the Grundfos headquarters and manufacturing facility here in Bjerringbro, Denmark, and to visit its manufacturing facility in Tatabanya, Hungary, which is about 60 miles west of Budapest. Trade media, including myself and John Mesenbrink, editor at large, learned about all things Grundfos during the three-day tour.
We first arrived at the Grundfos Center in Bjerringbro, Denmark, and met with Mads Nipper, group president and CEO, Jørgen Bjelskou, global public affairs director, and Hans Brink Hansen, business development manager.
Nipper opened up the press conference with an overview of Grundfos’ history throughout the decades and the company’s business philosophy.
“At Grundfos, we contribute to global sustainability by pioneering technologies that improve quality of life for people and care for the planet,” explained Nipper. “Pump solutions are about helping our customers, from a private household to a major municipality.”
Grundfos also focuses on being a trendsetter in pump technology — the company is always researching and developing technologies.
“Our R&D is ongoing,’ stated Nipper. “A good example of this is the Heritage Pump, which is energy efficient. Via research and development Grundfos is finding a more intelligent solution to this product.”
Plus, Grundfos wants to find out what technology has the best potential to make a major difference in certain sectors, such as domestic, commercial, public, water services and industrial.
Also, Nipper said that Grundfos focuses on world class service and the company is continuously focused on creating value to its customers.
“We can’t take water for granted; water is life giving,” said Nipper. “At Grundfos we want to improve the quality of life for people and we try our best to make a major difference with energy efficiency and the water supply of the world.
Bjelskou, global public affairs director, discussed Grundfos’ focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, which are a part of the company’s six values, which are:
- Sustainable — The business is run in a responsible and sustainable way, thus the company is socially responsible. Products are made to help customers save natural resources, and Grundfos takes care of its employees.
- Open and trustworthy — Grundfos is transparent, and communication is open and honest.
- Focus on people — Grundfos develops its employees; everyone employed by Grundfos has potential, and everyone has the power to influence, and is respected and valued.
- Independent — The Poul Due Jensen Foundation is the main shareholder of Grundfos.
- Partnership — Grundfos believes diversity drives innovation and growth, and that relationships with customers, suppliers and stakeholders are key.
- Relentlessly ambitions — Grundfos is always creating better solutions faster, and it takes pride in delivering top quality products.
These six values are implemented across the board at Grundfos.
During the press conference, Bjelskou said that sustainability is at the heart of Grundfos’ purpose.
“Sustainability and energy efficiency is part of the Grundfos DNA,” said Bjelskou. “We engage in society to promote sustainability and energy efficiency.”
Some of Grundfos’ major concerns are that pumps in general consume as much as 10% of the world’s electrical energy and the amount of water leakage in distribution systems.
“Cities loose more than 50% of water in a distribution system,” said Bjelskou. “Grundfos offers a pressure management systems that reduces significant water loss and minimizes maintenance costs.”
In line with Grundfos’ values, the company has internal ambitions, one of them being to be Carbon Dioxide neutral.
“Legislation and standards are important drivers for innovation and energy savings,” said Bjelskou. “Grundfos works with politicians at the U.S. federal and state levels that share our values and ambitions.”
Hansen, business development manager, discussed with media members smarter buildings and some exciting research Grundfos has been involved in.
Hansen started his presentation by stating that buildings are a big problem.
“Buildings don’t really need energy,” said Hansen. “It’s the people in the buildings that need energy.”
Regarding energy use Hansen said that there is not a lot of data on the energy consumption of buildings, yet, there are a lot of ideas and hypotheses. However, there is not much concrete building data.
To obtain accurate building data and research energy and water use, Grundfos became involved in a living-laboratory project — Grundfos Kollegiet, in the Danish harbour city of Aarhus. The Danish company Sjælsø acted as turnkey contractor and the project developer from the very start of the project. Sjælsø worked closely with Grundfos on the installation of the sensors and other equipment.
Grundfos Kollegiet is a dorm in which more than 200 students live. There are more than 1,800 sensors that provide knowledge about how to optimize and minimize water and energy consumption. The sensors monitor all aspects of building performance all the time, including indoor climate and energy and water use, thus, providing an analysis of all aspects of the building and its operation.
This project is not only special to Grundfos, but also university researchers, such as an anthropologist at the Alexandra Institute who has specialized in user behavior in relation to energy and technology. Grundfos Kollegiet is a researchers' paradise for Johanne Mose Entwistle and her partners at Aarhus University.
"It is quite unique that we have a residential environment providing so much data,” said Entwistle. “There are not many buildings like Grundfos Kollegiet in the world.”
“We hope this data will allow us to create a good future,” added Hansen. “This is a prototype for universities in the U.S. If successful, we want to encourage other building owners to focus on their data, and to communicate with people that this type of data is indeed beneficial.”