Stronger together

Entrepreneurial spirit and collective intelligence.

Stronger ​ Together

Entrepreneurial spirit and collective intelligence catalyse change

We can no longer act alone. Experts and entrepreneurs inspire us to be better, together, with a sustainable mindset.

No action is too small and there is no hierarchy for taking action.

Acting sustainably is a matter for us all. Indeed, the world’s biggest challenges are rarely solved by one person or linear solutions. At Hager Group we believe that it takes networks of diverse people, teams and organisations to foster a sustainable mindset to enable lasting change. We make a point of partnering up with specialists and associate ourselves with entrepreneurs and environmental advocates and activists. Collective intelligence can help us go further, together.

Andreas Piepenbrink and Fabrice Amedeo take a close look at the 50 kilo filters that allow scientists to analyse the health of our oceans.
We spoke to two advocates of change.

A firm believer in the necessity and the capacity to have a carbon neutral home, Andreas Piepenbrink has found his niche: single family energy storage systems to allow households to create just the right amount of energy they need. “It’s so important to be able to contribute to reducing the effects of greenhouse gas, I play my part and contribute where I can. Using the principles of the circular economy and renewables is so much more responsible.” He is convinced that the business model he set up more than ten years ago continues to go in the right direction. “The storage system is an honest example of what we can do, given how complicated the situation is. I don’t claim to be a Greta Thunberg, however, doing the right thing matters to me. And we do have the technology to get the single family home to a CO₂ consumption of nearly zero.”

However wind and solar can be unreliable sources of energy whilst electricity sourced from the grid is stable. Andreas makes it his mission to make it as simple and attractive as possible for people who have a house to install an energy management system which evens out the unreliability of renewables. With photovoltaic panels, a storage system, a heat pump as well as two electrical vehicles, external electric power demand and consumption can be reduced by up to 85% and sometimes even more. “We can provide the technology to enable people to reduce what I call their energy backpack.

For example, in Germany, building a house is the equivalent of 50 to 70 tonnes of CO₂. When you operate the house over a 20-year period with gas and coal, this represents at least another 100 tonnes. If you use renewables with PV panels & an energy storage system you can then even bring the 50 tonnes back down to zero by giving some energy back into the grid.”

Independent and free energy

By storing and using solar energy, independence from fossil fuel energy increases and the energy supply can become up to 100% autonomous. E3/DC home power stations, which are manufactured exclusively in Germany, and are subject to the strictest quality controls in accordance with the ISO 9001 standard, are an investment in a sustainable future. As the energy for the household, heat and mobility comes from your own roof, you simply eliminate most of your current energy costs making yourself independent from rising electricity prices.

Being part of the solution, together

Ever conscious of the complexity of finding alternative energy sources to burning fossil fuels and being a critical thinker, Andreas admits that he has often asked himself if he is part of the solution for CO₂ reduction, or if he is part of the problem? But anyone who has the system installed can testify that it works and allows home owners to be in line with their values and ambitions to reduce their carbon footprint. He himself owns a home that is carbon neutral.

Good preparation and a boat and skipper with technical prowess are part of the recipe to winning a race.

As an entrepreneur, Andreas says that looking back now he couldn’t have gone the distance alone, even though “when you start out you have a vision, you want to do the impossible, and you are alone to make it work.” Throughout his 10-year E3/DC adventure, he has sought the help of specialists and employed who he refers to as the “best of the best with a proven track record”. Particularly proud of the teams he has developed and the brand he has set up: “I am proud of having built up a strong brand together with a strong buy-in of private customers thanks to our proven track record of CO₂ balance in our technology. Onboarding and aligning to our business vision a Hager Group team based in Saverne, France was very gratifying.” Andreas agrees that experts are part of success as we can indeed learn from them but it is ultimately the teams, their spirit and perseverance that bring projects forward industrially; they are the ones to turn ideas into something tangible. He also attributes his success to creating a very clear road map right from the outset and being totally focussed to convert ideas into real results and assets.

His personal move into sustainability came after bringing the business into profitability: he was able to think about the deeper sense and added value of solutions for a better CO₂ balance. “I have a deep belief that energy-independent mid-size buildings, can make a definite impact on reducing CO₂ and contributing to the Paris Climate Agreement’s 1.5° reduction target.”

Setting sail

Looking for a way to connect Hager Energy with low-carbon technology in the public eye, Andreas started thinking about sponsorship. The seasoned sailor Fabrice Amadeo seemed to be a natural and logical step. They are both entrepreneurs, authentic and courageous and strongly believe in what they do and determined to make it work despite the odds and potential difficulties. When asked who inspired him, he comments, “there were times when I was inspired by entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson due to their long term focus and personal engagement. Now, my new inspiration is Fabrice and his (ad-)venture.”

In a next step, Hager Group and Hager Energy (E3/DC) joined forces to support ocean sailing by becoming the official sponsor of the French skipper. This joint adventure officially got off the ground when Fabrice Amedeo visited our production site in Obernai, France, in September 2021. Beyond the competitive aspect, this partnership combines human values and a scientific approach to help protect the oceans and ultimately make this world a better and cleaner one.

Since 2019, Fabrice’s boat has been equipped with sensors which collect various data related to the state of the oceans’ health, in particular the rate of microplastic and CO₂. From the boat, the data is sent directly to scientific institutes where it is used to measure pollution levels and help finding solutions to clean up the oceans. At Hager Group we are committed to the energy transition and through this partnership we demonstrate our commitment and positive vision of a changing world.

Independence and courage

During the international sailing race Vendée Globe, the skipper is alone on board. It’s a gruelling race where sailors rely solely on their own skills to navigate and weather routing is strictly prohibited. They are at the mercy of the elements which at the same time are their only source of energy. A parallel can be drawn with the energy transition at home, as a homeowner you have to rely on the sun and your storage 24/7, you are in a race against time and the dwindling and polluting coal and oil supplies. You have a strategy that you can adapt and control thanks to a unique supply of electricity even without the grid, and having an electric car or two means you can feed back the energy required for a heat pump. If the appropriate infrastructure is in place, this system works for apartment blocks, too.

Hager Energy

In early 2021 when Hager Group launched Hager Energy, a new business unit tasked with the supply and management of energy, it brought together and leveraged the respective capabilities of the teams responsible for Hager Group master brands Hager and E3 / DC. In Hager Energy, the company has combined the innovative strength of a leading energy storage manufacturer with the clout of an experienced building technology manufacturer. At the very moment when renewable energies are increasingly finding their way into people’s homes and commercial buildings, Hager Group is pooling its expertise within a single ambitious business unit.

An excellent fit

We know why Andreas Piepenbrink felt attracted to Fabrice’s sailing adventures. But what motivated the skipper to partner with us?

Why Hager Group and Hager Energy?

Fabrice Amedeo: I recognise myself in Hager Group. It’s a family company, I am a family man. I admire the strong values and there is a certain humility. The company does not want to greenwash and neither do I. I am honest about what I can achieve and what motivates me and I see this in the Hager Group people I have met too. During my school and university education I learnt German and studied a few German philosophers, so I am at ease with a Franco-German culture. One foot in France, the other in Germany. As I need to be autonomous in terms of energy on my boat and the company is in the energy business it seemed logical. For all these reasons it’s an excellent fit.

Andreas Piepenbrink

Andreas Piepenbrink has a PhD in electrical engineering and is the cofounder of the electricity storage brand E3/DC and heads Hager Group’s Energy Management business unit called Hager Energy. Always on the lookout for a new challenge, he is passionate about helping people to reduce their carbon footprint and also sailing. He and his family drive electric cars.

Fabrice Amedeo

Until 2017, Fabrice was a journalist for Le Figaro, a French newspaper, in parallel to this he had a serious passion for sailing. That same year, his passion won, and he became a professional skipper. Fabrice completed his first solo transatlantic race in 2010 and four years later he finished 9th at the Route du Rhum race in Class40. In 2020, he sailed around the world in the service of science.

So is it just plain sailing when you leave the coast?

I wouldn’t say that. On my boat there is the challenge to produce the energy I need autonomously. When I leave the coast the boat’s batteries are charged, after that it’s up to me. Adding to the challenge are my energy-consuming oceanographic sensors & filters to measure the level of microplastics and CO₂ in the sea, they push my energy consumption up by 15%, plus they weigh 50 kilos. When you sail around the world one of your obsessions is reducing the weight on your boat. So correct energy production and usage is crucial on board.

What motivates you to do what you’re doing?

I believe in setting an example. Transitioning to cleaner energy without sacrificing performance is a positive message to share with people. I think it is important to share the knowledge that we have and make people aware of the importance of protecting our oceans. Last year I wrote a book about this and was able to reach 80,000 children. I now want to take this understanding and awareness to an international audience. Work with different international associations and companies. Again, Hager Group seemed a perfect fit as The Peter und Luise Hager Foundation are very engaged in educating children and increasing awareness about the impact of global warming.

We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
French writer, aviator and poet

You seem to like a challenge. Surely having sensors and filters on the boat adds a layer of difficulty?

Yes, of course, I rise to the challenge of good causes. The filters have to be changed every 24 hours and as I said before they add weight to the boat. When I first started sailing it appealed to my competitive spirit and need for a physical challenge. Now I want to navigate purposefully. I want to give meaning to my life as a skipper. Obviously, I love the competitive aspect of ocean racing, and because I love the ocean, protecting it and helping science is a major motivator for me. My focus has shifted.

Would you say you are a catalyst of change? What is your personal payback from participating in the race and helping the scientific community?

That’s not how I see myself or how I would like others to see me. I am a concerned citizen. I would say that I modestly contribute to analysing the health of our oceans to further scientific research. I do it as a personal challenge. I do it because the level of pollution in our oceans is increasing and will soon become critical for humanity if we don’t act. And I do it as a father of three girls. Young children today are much more aware of the threat of climate change and pollution than people of my generation. When I started sailing my daughters said I was a sailor. Now they proudly say I measure the level of pollution in the ocean.

Thank you Fabrice for sharing with us. Let’s wrap up with a quote from the French writer, aviator and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry “We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.”

Fabrice Amedeo braved the oceans in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 race for exactly 21 days 3 hours 44 minutes and 22 seconds arriving in Fort-de-France, Martinique, on 28th November 2021.
Daniel Hager – Passionate people creating the change for a more sustainable world.Driving change and sustainability – How we are decarbonising our business.Designing out plastic? – Sustainability and eco-friendly solutions are our promise.Changing our perspectives – Guibert del Marmol about being sustainable.Stronger together – Entrepreneurial spirit and collective intelligence.Being part of the solution – Diversity, skills and commitment.Talking sustainability with our Board of Directors – Exploring people, passion, change.Our Supervisory Board – Facts & figures – Imprint – Hager Group Annual Report ArchiveHager Group Annual Report 2020/21Hager Group Annual Report 2019/20Hager Group Annual Report 2018/19Hager Group Annual Report 2017/18Hager Group Annual Report 2016Hager Group Annual Report 2015