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Replacing a refrigeration system is a costly affair. Christian Ambühl, plant mechanic at the Zollikofen cheese-ageing facility, came up with a way to not only extend the service life of such a system cost-effectively but also halve its oil consumption.

Zollikofen stores 5,000 tonnes of the best Emmentaler AOP from the Berne region. Maturing the cheeses to the best possible quality requires that they be stored in a constant, controlled climate. The refrigeration system being used in Zollikofen is now over 15 years old. Due to some “age-related complaints” and its high oil consumption, replacing the system was under discussion. Thanks to considerable appreciation of detail and persistence, the plant mechanic got the machine up and running properly again. Using a few tricks of the trade, he bypassed the defects so that they no longer mattered. The refrigeration system is now able to operate using less than half of the oil it did previously, resulting in financial savings of around CHF 10,000 per year.

In the view of the Emmi Sustainability Award jury, such projects are particularly noteworthy because they demonstrate how much can be achieved through personal commitment as well as the need for managers to recognise and support such skills among their employees.

The jury
Natalie Rüedi
Chief Human Resource Officer
WWF Switzerland
Thomas Baumgartner
Energy Agency Swiss Private Sector EnAW
Thomas Pesenti
Kai Könecke
Chief Supply Chain Officer
Marc Heim
Executive Vice President Switzerland / Deputy CEO
Robin Barraclough
Executive Vice President Europe
Thomas Morf
Chief Marketing Officer