Energy consumption and efficiency

Energy consumption and efficiency

In 2013, we reduced our energy consumption 3% towards our target to reduce energy consumption 10% by 2016 compared with 2012 levels.

In 2013, we reduced energy consumption 3%, contributing to our target of reducing energy consumption 10% by 2016 compared with 2012 levels. Between 2009 and 2012, we overachieved on our previous targets and reduced our energy consumption 21%. We will continue to invest in energy-efficient infrastructure and implement established energy reduction measures, such as ensuring that heating, air-conditioning and lighting controls of the buildings we occupy are optimized. In addition, we apply externally verified standards to validate building performance. Information technology consumes up to half of the electricity used by the Group worldwide, and consolidation, virtualization and the Desktop Transformation Program (designed to reduce the number of personal computers whilst ensuring that new computers and monitors are more energy-efficient than the equipment they replace) have contributed to significant energy savings in recent years. In 2013, we reduced the electricity consumption of our data centers more than 6% year on year.

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Case studies

The selection of 1285 Avenue of the Americas building in New York as the new Americas regional headquarters has resulted in numerous building infrastructure and upgrade projects for increased efficiency. As part of the new headquarters’ ‘green design’ - aligned with UBS’s commitment to sustainability - the three pronounced 'UBS' building signs, located on the top exterior of the 1285 Avenue of the Americas location, were upgraded in 2013 from neon to LED lighting technology.

Compared to traditional neon bulbs, the new LED lights will utilize approximately 80% less electricity and save approximately 25% of contract-related maintenance that was necessary for the past use of less-efficient neon lighting. In addition to their electrical energy savings, the newly installed LED lights are brighter and have a lifespan of approximately 5-10 years longer than previously used lighting sources. Illuminating the ‘UBS’ building signs even from far distances with efficient LED lights demonstrates a forward-facing view of UBS's unwavering dedication to corporate social responsibility

UBS is one of the top energy savers among Switzerland's 50 largest companies, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The WWF has surveyed the largest Swiss companies (by turnover and number of employees) on their energy consumption, mix and efficiency. UBS is among the top eight firms in terms of energy efficiency.

The top eight energy savers:





Die Schweizerische Post






Swisscom AG


Swiss Re




Zürcher Kantonalbank


This group has demonstrated a stable or decreasing use of energy and has set ambitious targets for reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, a higher than average part of the energy they consume is from renewable sources. UBS, together with the other firms in the group, is far ahead of the other firms surveyed, more than half of which either could or would not provide any information. The survey was conducted by oekom research, one of the world's leading sustainable investment rating companies.

The results of the survey, which are summarized in the WWF energy study, acknowledge the intensive efforts UBS has made in the last few years on the environmental protection front. In 2012, UBS reached its goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% from 2004 levels. At the same time, it has set further demanding global targets to be reached by 2016. UBS aims to reduce its energy consumption by 10%, its water consumption by 5%, and to increase the proportion of waste it recycles to 70%. Already today, 100% of the energy UBS uses in Switzerland is derived from renewable sources. This has been the case since 2007.

According to the WWF, transparency and ambitious energy-saving targets and other appropriate measures are required for the smooth implementation of the energy revolution. This is already happening in Switzerland and Germany due to their planned exit from nuclear energy and is being discussed in other countries. How a company handles its energy consumption shows how forward-thinking it is. Companies that use energy efficiently do not only protect the environment, they also gain cost advantages and can maintain their independence in the face of rising energy prices

At the UBS building in Stamford, we sought to increase both its energy and water efficiency through a multi-faceted ‘Demand Flow’ project. As part of the key real estate initiative, water chiller plant controls and variable frequency devices (VFDs) were installed on water pumps to improve metering and reduce energy consumption. To complement this project, a 'Daylight Harvesting' system was also installed in key areas of the building, including the windowed lobby, enabling automatic analysis of outside lighting levels and when appropriate, corollary shut-offs of the building's internal lighting system.

As a result of these two efforts for increased efficiency in facility operations, the building has realized an energy savings of approximately 590,000 kWh within one year after implementation. Moreover, these initiatives have contributed to the building’s 2013 overall energy reduction of 15% and decreased water usage of 11% compared to 2012, as well as improved operational reliability and controls for water usage

In an effort to elevate existing infrastructure, UBS at Newport Office Center (NOC) VII, in Jersey City, New Jersey reprogrammed the parameters of its Secondary Water System resulting in both increased energy efficiency and improved balanced controls for water usage. The reprogramming calibration technique enables the building to more effectively control the high-horsepower pumps required to maintain proper pressure by either slowing down or even completely powering down the pumps, when possible.

The infrastructure upgrade in 2013 reduced electricity consumption by approximately 730,000 kWh, a figure that contributed to the building’s overall annual electricity reduction of 27%. Also, operational efficiency decreased water usage by 39% compared to 2012. Additionally, the balancing initiative reduces costs associated with less-effectively controlled Secondary Water Systems, notably maintenance and inefficient usage.

The Carbon Trust Standard was developed by the Carbon Trust in 2007/08 to encourage good practice in carbon footprint management and reduction by businesses and public sector organizations. It is designed to provide a robust, objective and consistent methodology for assessing corporate carbon performance. Assessment against the Standard is undertaken by independent third-parties. Following a submission of evidence and an external audit, we were able to demonstrate a consistent and ongoing reduction in carbon emissions during the previous three years. We have implemented policies and procedures as well as organizational groups that aim to continue this trend.

UBS first achieved certification to the Carbon Trust Standard across all UK operations in 2010, achieved recertification 2012, with accreditation to the end of 2013.