3M Deutschland GmbH: "Road to clean energy"

3M Deutschland GmbH, a subsidiary of US company 3M, is a multi-technology company that pursues a ‘holistically integrated approach to climate protection’. In particular, this approach includes measures for increasing energy efficiency, the in-house generation of electricity using renewable energy sources as well as the procurement of electricity from renewable energy sources and the linking of the measures to one another. CO2 reduction is expected to reach 75 per cent in the period between 2019 and 2030.

3M – inauguration of charging columns in 2019; photo: 3M

Project overview

Participating company

3M Deutschland GmbH


Project location

The nine largest 3M locations in Germany


Multi-technology company

Technologies used

Optimisation of production plants, cooling supply, infrastructure, hot, warm and cold water networks, air conditioning and compressed air systems, photovoltaics

LED lighting, building management systems, e-vehicles, e-charging columns, purchase of green electricity, life cycle assessments, carbon footprint analyses, circular economy, energy contracting, leasing

Projected energy efficiency

Approximately 21 GWh/yr (4.1 GWh/yr achieved so far)

Projected CO2 savings

97,000 t CO2/yr (75%) for the period 2019–2030    

Achieved so far: 1,200 t CO2/yr

Planned investment

Not specified

Planned payback period

3.5–4 years

Funding programmes


Projects for the implementation of climate protection measures are being launched in sequence at 3M’s nine largest sites in Germany and are being replicated at other sites to the greatest extent possible. The initiative is made up of projects that have already been implemented as well as fully planned projects that have yet to be implemented.

The following measures were implemented to increase energy efficiency: optimisation of the cooling supply and investigation into the infrastructure with regard to total energy consumption. All nine sites have already seen success in terms of optimising the cooling supply, the hot, warm and cold water networks, the air conditioning systems as well as the compressed air systems and infrastructure. The same goes for the installation of new building management systems and the replacement of LED lighting systems.

The optimisation process at the technical production facilities focuses on the following: reducing start-up processes and applying preventive maintenance measures and the LEAN/Six Sigma methodology to avoid unplanned downtimes at production facilities.

In addition, e-vehicles are being introduced to the 3M fleet, and charging columns are being provided for customers. Only green electricity is fed into the charging columns. Some locations have already begun using photovoltaic systems to generate electricity from renewable energy sources on their own. This method is being expanded to other locations as well. The cross-site purchase of green electricity is currently being implemented. As of this year, 3M Deutschland GmbH already obtains 75 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The global 3M Group as a whole is looking to obtain 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable energies by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2050. 3M is implementing several measures within the framework of energy contracting and leasing. 3M also carries out product-related life cycle assessments and carbon footprint analyses and supports its customers in determining the scope of their emissions.

3M Inspiration Lab Neuss; photo: 3M


The various measures for increasing energy efficiency and generating on-site energy, supplemented by the purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources, can be transferred (at least in part) to many other companies in various different sectors.

Energy Efficiency Award 2021

Award winners 2021

Around 130 applications from Germany and around the world: the Energy Efficiency Award is once again a coveted award in the context of energy… Read more

Pictures: 3M