Volvo Construction Equipment’s site in Braäs, Sweden, is the first construction equipment production facility in the world to be powered entirely by renewable energy, the Stockholm, Sweden, based company said. The 45,000-square-meter facility (484,376 square feet) in southern Sweden, which specializes in the design and manufacture of articulated haulers, is now powered entirely by renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and hydropower, which neither produce harmful emissions nor contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The achievement follows in the footsteps of sister company Volvo Trucks, whose Ghent, Belgium, facility set the standard for emissions-free industrial manufacturing in 2007. Ghent became the first carbon neutral facility in the automotive sector, Volvo said.

“As one of our core values, environmental care informs everything we do at Volvo,” said Niklas Nillroth, Volvo CE’s vice president of core value management and CSR (corporate social responsibility.) “So we are extremely proud that the Volvo Group is leading the way, not just in one industry, but two.”

Braäs’ first step towards carbon neutrality began in 1999, when it commissioned local energy supplier Växjö Energi AB to install a district heating plant, fuelled by wood chips, to provide central heating for its employees and the town’s residents.

“Volvo CE is an important part of the community in the region so it is essential that our environmentally conscious decisions benefit not only our customers and the world at large, but also our closest neighbors,” said Nillroth.

Staff identified the greatest source of energy consumption as the liquefied petroleum gas burners, which were used to heat the rust-protection treatment ovens to 60 degrees C. These were systematically replaced with district heating. The burners in the component paint shop, which reach temperatures of 120 degrees C, were also altered to electrical heating, and the site’s diesel forklifts were replaced with electric battery models.