Q&A with Grundfos’ UK Managing Director Glynn Williams

With 25+ years with Grundfos, Williams drives the company’s desire to advance energy efficiency globally & shares how they support the energy transition

Many companies and their executives are thrusting the energy transition and energy efficiency into the forefront of their operations, and that cannot be more true for Glynn Williams and Grundfos.  

Joining the largest pump manufacturer in the world in 1999, Williams now holds the pivotal position of Area Director for Commercial Building Services for North West Europe as well as retaining the position as country lead for the UK. He has more than three decades of experience across the industry, having kicked off his career in 1988 as a Technical Sales Representative with BSS.

As a colleague who has worked across a multitude of Grundfos’ operations, he has first-hand experience of the company’s approach to innovation in pursuit of climate change and environmental solutions.

“It's undoubtedly the people who make Grundfos such a remarkable and successful organisation,” he said.

Here, Williams shares how the work of Grundfos aids the energy transition.

Q. In your own words, what is Grundfos and what services does it provide?

Grundfos is a global leader in pumps and water solutions, with a strong focus on environmental sustainability. Our roots go back to the 1940s, when our founder Poul Due Jensen started a small company in his basement in Bjerringbro, Denmark, in a bid to develop a pump solution capable of irrigating a local farm. 

Since its inception in the 1940s, Grundfos has grown into a global market-leader, with more than 19,000 employees around the world and a track record of producing millions of pump units and electronics for pump controls and electric motors each year. We are proud of the wide array of products, pump solutions and services that we provide to help businesses and homes optimise their energy use around the world.

We are driven by the simple and unrelenting belief that we can harness power and technology to protect our planet and the people who inhabit it. This mission energises us and informs our work, day in and day out. To this end, we are always looking for opportunities to advance the UK’s energy efficiency agenda. We have commissioned research and surveys and developed a report and a white paper with third-party partners in a bid to engage policymakers in important conversations around energy efficiency. Our door is always open to those who want to partner with us to push the dial on energy efficiency. 

Q. Given Grundfos' commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, how does the company ensure that its products and solutions align with the goals of reducing energy consumption and promoting renewable energy integration?

Sustainability has always been at the core of what we do, and it is no surprise that our commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability is an integral part of our Grundfos 2025 business strategy. We are accelerating our energy-efficient water and digital solutions, as this is where we can make the most impact on some of the world’s most critical challenges.

Beyond ensuring that our products and solutions align with our sustainability ambitions, we are also committed to making sure that we operate as sustainably as possible. We are proud to be the world’s first water solutions company to have had our 2030 and 2050 net-zero targets approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi)

Our products and solutions are also designed with the goal of optimising energy use. For example, our intelligent solutions — such as the UPS3 pump — help consumers minimise their energy waste by optimising their heating systems. A simple, smart solution such as a modern circulator pump can help households cut their energy use and lower their energy bills by up to £110 (US$140) a year. 

We are also dedicated to minimising our environmental impact by reducing, reusing, repairing, remanufacturing, and recycling products as much as possible. Through our Take Back Programme, we take back end-of-life pumps from our customers and recycle the materials, reducing waste and lowering our dependency on finite resources. 

There are countless ways in which our services and initiatives are helping us operate sustainably whilst we deliver sustainable solutions and products to our customers. Guided by the belief that we can help advance energy efficiency worldwide, our energy solutions are designed, developed and tested diligently with this goal front of mind. 

Q. How do you see the role of pump technology evolving with the energy transition?

Grundfos is at the forefront of developing innovative pump solutions that will support and advance the energy transition. For instance, Grundfos iSOLUTIONS utilises intelligent pumps, cloud connectivity and digital services to enable real-time monitoring, remote control, fault prediction and system optimisation to help users optimise operational performance in an energy efficient manner. 

We are also working to phase out traditional fixed-speed pumps, moving towards energy-efficient e-pumps with a frequency converter that helps ensure that pumps only run when needed. We adopt these technologies across our own sites in order to make the transition to greener energy use across our facilities. For example, in 2023, we reduced our own carbon emissions by 9.5% and are working towards achieving the SBTi-approved targets we set for ourselves. 

By harnessing the power of best-in-class modern technology and innovation, we are confident that we can deliver products and solutions that can help our customers embrace the energy transition whilst also leading by example. 

Q. With the growing emphasis on decarbonisation and energy efficiency, what innovative approaches is Grundfos taking to address the energy challenges faced by its customers? 

Grundfos is taking innovative approaches to address the energy challenges faced by our customers by offering cost-effective energy solutions that prioritise efficiency and sustainability. 

For example, we support companies in their ambitions to grow in a sustainable manner. When the leading soft drinks manufacturer, Britvic, experienced a surge in demand that required higher energy consumption, they approached Grundfos for support on how to achieve their operational goals without compromising their sustainability ambitions. Grundfos responded with an advanced custom turnkey solution: four booster sets and an improved cooling system to increase Britvic’s production. The energy solutions helped Britvic increase their production and reduce wastewater and energy usage, thereby helping the soft drinks giant to minimise their carbon footprint and cut energy costs. 

In addition to working with customers to develop solutions to their energy challenges, we conduct research and work with partners to better understand the roadblocks that consumers and businesses face when it comes to energy efficiency. Most recently, we commissioned research from leading polling providers JL Partners to gain a better understanding of the prevailing challenges, attitudes and motivations that consumers around the country have towards household energy efficiency. 

Our research found that the median amount that households are willing to spend on improving their energy efficiency is no more than £500 (US$635) per year. This underscores the importance of ‘low-hanging fruit’ energy solutions; measures that are cost-effective and deliver high-impact. 

Grundfos is actively working with partners across industry and government to help households access these low-hanging fruit solutions, such as optimising a heating system by updating an old circulator pump or ensuring a system is properly balanced. While these measures are often overlooked for more conventional, costlier upgrades such as home insulation, they are highly effective in helping households optimise their energy use and slash their energy costs.

For instance, with just 10% of the UK's heating systems being properly balanced, many of the UK’s homes are running old and inefficient heating systems. For an initial investment of approximately £120 (US$152), the simple adjustment of properly balancing a heating system has the potential to save up to 20% of yearly utility bills.

The road to decarbonisation does not have to be costly and time-intensive for households. By developing smarter energy solutions and advocating for low-cost, high-impact measures, we aim to help households gain control over their energy use in a bid to reduce their emissions and cut costs. 

Q. What are some of the key considerations for businesses when it comes to investing in energy-efficient solutions? 

Businesses are currently losing out financially due to running inefficient, outdated energy systems in their commercial buildings. Our research has revealed that while the majority of businesses have cited perceptions of steep upfront costs as the main barrier holding them back from upgrading their energy systems, the strong return on investment associated with improving energy efficiency means that businesses ultimately save money in the long run. 

Currently, businesses in the UK are cumulatively losing out on approximately £800m (US$1.18bn) in energy savings per year due to running outdated and inefficient heating systems. With 40% of a business’ energy costs can be attributed to heating, cooling and ventilation costs, optimising a heating system is an important and impactful investment for businesses. 

Rather than losing money due to unoptimised energy infrastructure, businesses can proactively promote simple energy efficiency upgrades as a means of unlocking concrete financial benefits. For instance, replacing old circulator pumps — of which there are 100 million in Europe alone — can result in up to 75% energy savings and deliver a projected return on investment of just under five years. These solutions can drive transformative outcomes for businesses, both in terms of maximising their bottom line and reducing their environmental footprint.

Q. How do you support your customers in navigating these considerations? 

Households want energy solutions, but most are in the dark about energy efficiency and aren’t familiar with the ‘low-hanging fruit’ opportunities that are available to them to boost their energy efficiency. 

Consumers tend to be more aware of conventional energy upgrades such as home insulation. However, insulation typically costs between £1,400 and £10,000 (US$1,782 to US$12,729) depending on property size and type, representing a significant investment for households. 

Grundfos is working to make energy efficiency more accessible and actionable for consumers and businesses by championing the simple, affordable and impactful measures that people can take. By helping customers seize the ‘low-hanging fruit’ — such as replacing an outdated circulator pump, balancing a heating system or using a common controlling device, such as a thermostat — households can significantly reduce their energy consumption and costs. 

In addition, Grundfos offers a complete range of energy solutions and services for businesses. 

Commercial buildings, including new constructions, use up to 50% more energy than is necessary. Optimising energy use in commercial buildings isn’t only important from an environmental perspective, it’s also important to businesses from a financial perspective. One simple upgrade we advocate for is the uptake of energy-efficient e-pumps with a frequency converter. Smarter pumps such as this one ensure that pumps only run when needed, thereby reducing energy use and cutting costs. We also work with businesses to help craft bespoke energy solutions that fit their unique - and sometimes complex needs – in order to help them slash their carbon emissions and boost their bottom-line.

Finally, Grundfos advocates for government policies that support the transition to smarter energy solutions, such as incentives for commercial building owners to implement energy-efficient measures or support for households and awareness-raising efforts for households. By aligning our products and initiatives with the evolving energy landscape and the needs of our customers, we are contributing to the country’s decarbonisation efforts by equipping people with solutions that help them slash their carbon emissions and boost their energy savings.

Q. How do you see the role of Grundfos in driving energy transition efforts, particularly in countries where energy efficiency and sustainability are becoming increasingly important priorities for businesses and governments alike?

Grundfos' commitment to becoming climate positive and reducing our carbon footprint by 50% by 2025, compared to our 2008 levels, is a significant step towards driving energy transition efforts. By implementing such ambitious targets and pioneering sustainable initiatives such as the TakeBack programme, Grundfos sets a compelling example for businesses and governments in countries where energy efficiency and sustainability are increasingly prioritised.

Through our Strategy 2025, Grundfos not only focuses on internal sustainability measures but also extends our efforts to suppliers, aiming to reduce their carbon footprints as well. This approach creates a ripple effect throughout the supply chain, encouraging broader adoption of sustainable practices.

Grundfos aims to accelerate its transformation to a net-zero future whilst enabling its customers to save energy. Grundfos worked with industry experts to identify the use of Grundfos products by end users as its biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions, of which Grundfos is indirectly responsible for across its value chain, account for 99% of the company’s total greenhouse gas emissions. As such, Grundfos believes it can make the most difference in addressing the growing climate challenges by pledging to reduce Scope 3 emissions by delivering the world’s most energy-efficient and digitally enabled product portfolio.

Furthermore, Grundfos' ambition to cut water consumption by 50% by 2025 aligns with the growing global emphasis on water conservation. Water scarcity is a pressing issue in many regions, and by reducing our water consumption across our operations, Grundfos is continually developing novel solutions to address this challenge — within our business and beyond.

We also strive to have a positive impact on communities facing water and energy challenges. Grundfos is committed to addressing global water challenges and improving millions of lives while pioneering innovative solutions that can be replicated worldwide.

Across the globe, we are proud that our services, initiatives and research serve as catalysts for change and progress. By leading by example, collaborating with stakeholders and implementing innovative solutions, Grundfos is playing a crucial role in driving energy transition efforts and advancing sustainability on a global scale.

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