Background: Environmental protection concerns us all
The carbon footprint of every single one of us is defined in terms of per capita energy consumption. Mobility and, above all, our choices of transportation play a substantial role in this, and rail performs well in this respect compared with its rivals. In the case of electric locomotives, the way that their power is generated is an important factor influencing the levels of CO2 and other pollutant emissions.
Reducing emissions in everyday life
Every single person can take measures in their own personal environment to reduce energy consumption and thus lower harmful emissions. For example, using local produce and not eating fruit and vegetables out of season can make a lot of emission-intensive air transport unnecessary. The responsible use of electrical appliances in the household can also make a crucial difference. According to a study that the TU Graz made in 2009, the average Austrian household wastes 230 kWh of electricity annually as a result of standby and off-mode losses. At 18 ct/kWh, that amounts to €41 per household. There were about 196 million households in the EU in 2005. Assuming that losses per household are equally high in all European countries, that means that electricity with a value of about €8 billion throughout Europe is accounted for by standby losses alone. There is considerable potential here that everyone can realize by acting responsibly.
Role of the rail industry
According to data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) from July 2009, ust 0.7 percent of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the EU-27 in 2007 were caused by rail traffic. This is a small percentage compared with the main polluters like road traffic. Nevertheless, the rail industry accepts its responsibility to society and continues to work on improvements – although the modern electric and diesel-electric locomotives it delivers today are already highly efficient and eco-friendly. According to recent surveys, rail freight transport, for example in Germany, already produces four times less CO2 emission than road transport, despite the vehicle mix of new and old diesel and electric locomotives still in service.
Siemens' contribution: Green mobility
"I will not sell the future for a momentary profit"
(Werner von Siemens, 1816-1892). This quotation reflects an aspiration to sustainability that it is as valid today as it was in the nineteenth century. Siemens Mobility makes a significant contribution with efficient technologies and environment-friendly products, and has firmly embedded this philosophy in its product portfolio under the name Green Mobility.