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PressClub Latin America, Caribbean · Article.

Promoting biodiversity delivers results: Plant grounds becoming greener and greener

+++ BMW Group Plant Dingolfing pursues various activities to promote rich diversity of plant and animal life on plant grounds +++ New “bee wagon” will help establish further bee colonies at the plant +++ Light reduction at Plant 02.91 in Wallersdorf protects insects and birds +++

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Juan Bernardo Vazquez Mellado
BMW Group

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Juan Bernardo Vazquez Mellado
BMW Group

Dingolfing. The green spaces and flowering meadows at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing are alive with crawling, buzzing and flying creatures. In addition to the many bird species, butterflies and grasshoppers, bees and dragonflies also feel at home here. The site in Lower Bavaria is constantly working to preserve and increase biodiversity on the plant grounds. Measures range from creating flowering meadows, biotopes and greened roofs, to establishing bee colonies and carefully managing the site’s green spaces. External biologists support the plant’s own sustainability specialists with their professional expertise.

 

“We see ourselves as a partner for the region that takes environmental and social responsibility,” confirms Plant Director Christoph Schröder. “This is one of the reasons why we are not only making our plant more and more green in the broader sense – by improving energy savings and resource efficiency in vehicle production – but also in the literal sense, by promoting biological diversity around our production halls and office buildings.”

 

Growing number of greened roofs and green spaces

In spring 2020, Plant 02.10 became the first production building at the BMW Group site in Dingolfing to install a greened roof. Rooftop greening has since been significantly expanded from the 4,000-square-metre roof that was freshly sown at that time. By the end of 2023, a total of around 31,000 square metres of roof surfaces will be greened – an area the size of about five soccer fields. The extensive, near-natural greened roofs provide food and a place of refuge for wild bees, butterflies and beetles, among others. Planted with herbaceous and flowering sedum plants, these industrial greened roofs not only create a habitat for insects, but also have a positive effect on the indoor climate in the halls below them. In summer, evaporation produces a cooling effect; during the colder months, greened roofs help with heat insulation. The roof structure also serves as a retention tank: Rainwater is absorbed and released with a delay, which means fewer infiltration systems are required across the grounds. Greened roofs can store an average of 40 litres of water per square metre. 

 

BMW Group Plant Dingolfing is also turning more and more of its green spaces into flowerbeds, as well as creating biotopes and planting fruit trees. “Only recently, for example, green spaces around Plant 02.20 were upgraded by creating an orchard and a biotope area,” explains Irene Auburger, responsible for biodiversity issues at the site. There are currently over 100 fruit trees across the site that were planted within the past two to three years. There are also a large number of other native tree species, including oaks, beech trees and maples, as well as wild cherries and hawthorns. The grounds of Vehicle Plant 02.40 alone are home to more than 1,000 trees. Green spaces are now also mowed less frequently to expand the ecological habitats. Switching to low-maintenance grass means that most areas are now only mowed twice a year. The grass is also mowed in two sections to ensure the insects always have somewhere to live.

 

Mini-forest at the heart of the plant

“Our goal is to increase the ratio of flowering and green spaces at the plant as much as possible. For instance, in the near future, we will be planting autochthonous, i.e. native, wild hedges, to make our site even more biodiverse,” says Auburger. "We also plan to create a tiny forest at Plant 02.40. This very densely-planted, fast-growing mini-forest will quickly form a resilient ecosystem – a piece of wilderness right in the middle of the plant, so to speak, where insects, birds and small mammals can live. Only native trees will be planted in this tiny forest as well.”

 

New homes for even more plant bees

Expanding near-natural areas also enriches the bees' pollen-gathering area. The hard-working honey producers have made the site their home since 2019. The bee-keeping project was the idea of apiarist and BMW Group employee Stefan Fleischmann, who still takes care of the insects’ well-being and also handles breeding. “We are currently in the process of establishing new bee colonies – and would love to make the plant home to a million bees,” says the bee-keeper. The number of beehives in the Dingolfing plant cluster network has now increased to over 20.

 

In the future, the plant’s bees won’t just "do their work" at Vehicle Plant 02.40, but also at Plant 02.20 and Plant 02.70 – the Dynamics Centre – where two to four new bee colonies will be established. Nevertheless, Vehicle Plant 02.40 will still house most of the bees. Two new beehives, as the wooden structures in which honey bees make their home are called, are located near the administration building, while the rest live in a new “bee wagon” on the west side of the grounds. Fleischmann expanded and converted the wagon himself. Two large flaps on each of the longer sides form entrances and exits for the bees. "It helps me stay dry while I’m working with the bees and also protects the colonies," says the bee-keeping expert. The wagon can accommodate up to 30 colonies. Depending on the time of year, each colony has between 5,000 and 50,000 bees. “As pollinators, bees are of tremendous ecological importance. That’s why it is important to us to protect and support these insects," says Auburger.

 

Reduced lighting

By gradually reducing its light emissions, the site is also helping protect insects and birds – and thus preserving biodiversity. At Plant 02.91 in Wallersdorf, night-time lighting has already been reduced by about 30 percent during operating hours and by as much as 90 percent outside of operating hours. As little lighting is used as possible and only where absolutely necessary. This ensures that insects and birds are no longer disturbed in their natural behaviour by excessive light during dark hours.

 

Further information

BMW Group Plant Dingolfing documents its wide-ranging activities in the field of environmental and climate protection in its current environmental statement. The report, which has been validated by the German Technical Inspection Association (TÜV), is available under the following link on the BMW Group Dingolfing webpage:

https://www.bmwgroup-werke.com/dingolfing/en/sustainability/cleanproduction.html

 

 

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