Illwerke vkw

Bregenz, Austria

"Illwerke vkw adopted the issue of sustainability a long time ago. We were one of the first energy supply companies in Austria that received environmental certification according to ISO 14001. Environmental protection and biodiversity are one of the supporting pillars of their corporate philosophy - the employees prove this with their daily commitment, ideas and strength of implementation."



Illwerke vkw is the largest energy service provider in Vorarlberg. With our 4 business areas of hydropower, supply and services, energy networks and tourism, we offer a wide variety of exciting fields of activity. We build modern pumped storage power plants, develop infrastructure for e-cars, operate high-performance energy grids, advance digitalisation and manage an attractive tourism destination. Over 200,000 satisfied customers rely on us every day.

Description of measures

At the Bürs substation, various methods for establishing natural meadows, successional areas and hedge structures were tested. Several regionally typical wildflower seed mixtures and a mown grass transfer were used. The aim was to establish a species-rich planting under the substations that is beneficial to native wildlife and meets the appropriate safety and maintenance requirements. The knowledge gained is now also being transferred to other locations - the areas in Bürs are now also used as mown material transfer areas.

Positive results of measures

The workplace of our employees is, so to speak, in the midst of biodiversity. A breeding pair of kestrels, goldfinches and swallowtails are their daily companions, and an in-house honey production with 4 bee colonies has been established so that the advantages of a nature-oriented business design can be conveyed in a pleasurable way.

Motivation and goals

In addition to the official requirements, the accessibility of the areas with heavy equipment, for example in the event of a disturbance, was particularly important to us. A rough pasture with its thick mineral structure (in this case at least 40 cm of certified recycled material) and shallow organic material (here 2-3 cm of hygienised green waste compost) is a perfect basis for this. In this way, we give these areas back to nature for a time and enable biodiversity while reducing maintenance costs. 

Characteristics of the area

The Bürs substation is located in the open valley landscape of the Ill River between intensively farmed meadows and fields and the forested slopes of the Bürserberg.

Maintenance concept

The area is mown once or three times as needed, and shrubs are cut only when necessary.

Costs for design and maintenance

The costs for everything (incl. planning / implementation / seedbed preparation / woody planting / meadow casting / large tree transplantation etc.) would be €1,65,-/m². For the establishment of rough pastures, a price of €1.15/m² can be assumed with mown material transfer areas of €0.86/m² (short transport distance). The maintenance costs for the areas amount to €0.20/m².


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