Energy is in our DNA

Participating in the 2017 edition of the Charge conference is Þórarinn Ævarsson, CEO of IKEA Iceland. At first glance the connection between a furniture maker and the energy sector may not appear obvious but upon closer look it becomes more than evident.

You might say there is no reason for IKEA participating yet at the same time you might just as well say there is every reason,“ says Þórarinn. „That simply depends on your outlook on things in general. At IKEA you can buy a water-saving faucet, LED-bulbs that save electricity and also at a very reasonable price, not to mention all our furniture is packaged into flat boxes that only take a fraction of the space any pre-assembled furniture takes in cargo. Then we have rechargable batteries and more products in that vein. All these products and packaging is a direct consequence of what the company has already been doing for decades. IKEA is on a never-ending quest to find ways that improve our use any given resource. This is our collective duty, to use resources and raw materials in a sensible, sustainable way. This has been part of our DNA for a very long time.

Get a charge – free of charge

IKEA has also caught the attention of e-car owners with continued development of the parking lot outside of the Swedish furnituremaker in Kauptún, Garðabær, just outside of Reykjavík. There you will find 50 electric vehicle charging stations – centrally located – plus another 10 stations in the designated staff lot. And the charging is absolutely free of charge, to boot.

„The costs incurred by us from delivering this service is minor and we feel that if we are prepared to give the charging, other will find it difficult to charge the customers. As far as we are concerned, it is high time we all embraced the e-car implementation. We just have to go ahead and take the step.“ To that end, IKEA Iceland is considering facilitating the purchase of an e-car for their staff via a special grant for a part of the price. „When all is said and done there are actually a thousand valid reasons for us to participate in this conference. It's all part of who we are, utilizing nature and energy as efficiently as possible.

Next source: solar power

Þórarinn and his staff at IKEA have decided to reach even further in search for sustainable energy. Next up is an interesting experiment including solar cells to be placed on the rooftop of a 200 square meter building on the IKEA lot. They are intended to provide the IKEA workers' e-cars fleet with energy.

„The evolution of solar cells has been rapid lately and nowadays a cell set up in our northern latitude will harness up to 80% of what it could muster at the Equator. If our little experiment succeeds – and I have every faith that it will – we plan to take it to the next level and look to the roof of our main building, which is 14.000 square meters. That is a lot of space available for solar cells and I feel ahead are exciting times.“

Participating in Charge from the start

IKEA is thus with both feet firmly in various projects that touch upon energy and the company is participating in their second Charge conference. Þórarinn envisions IKEA participating for the foreseable future.

„I believe in this event and I am certain that in a few years people will be talking about it as an important component of the energy dialogue. By that time it will serve us well to have taken part from day one. Lest we forget, networking and meeting people is always important, and more often than not you tend to find that you have more in common with them than you initially thought.“

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