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General Motors facilities earn sustainability recognition

GM plans to use 100-percent renewable energy by 2050


October 25, 2016
Purchasing B2B

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DETROIT—The installation of 186,000 LED bulbs and fixtures is one of many steps helping General Motors save $73 million in energy costs in 2016, the company said.

Global efforts to increase energy efficiency play a significant part in GM’s goal of meeting the electricity needs of its worldwide operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

“Energy efficiency can reduce electricity loads, which will help us more easily transition to renewable energy sources,” said Al Hildreth, GM’s global energy manager. “Together, these environmental improvements help us reduce our carbon footprint, cut costs and deliver value back to our customers.”

Overall, 16 GM facilities recently earned recognition for continued efforts to increase energy efficiency.

GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan and Fort Wayne assembly plant in Indiana earned ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy performance. These plants are more energy efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide and meet strict performance levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said GM.

Improvements included new doors that isolate airflow in paint shops at Lansing Delta Township and more efficient energy management systems at Fort Wayne Assembly. The Fort Wayne team also installed new variable-frequency drives that help cooling tower pump systems and fans operate with greater precision. Fort Wayne Assembly will receive nearly $1 million in utility incentives over the next three years as a result. Both plants use LED lighting in new facilities.

GM warehouses in Waterford and Burton, Michigan also earned ENERGY STAR certification. These customer care and aftersales operations leveraged natural light via new skylights, installed LEDs with motion sensors and are using energy management systems to control heating.

Another ENERGY STAR program, the Challenge for Industry, recognizes manufacturing facilities that have cut energy intensity by 10 percent within five years. This year, 12 GM sites met the challenge, 10 of which were repeat achievers.

  • Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana—first-time achiever
  • Grand Rapids Operations in Michigan—first-time achiever
  • Defiance Operations in Ohio
  • Flint Metal Center in Michigan
  • Hamtramck Assembly in Michigan
  • Marion Stamping Plant in Indiana
  • Qingdao Assembly in China
  • Rochester Operations in New York
  • Talegaon Engine in India
  • Toledo Transmission in Ohio
  • Tonawanda Engine in New York
  • Wentzville Assembly in Missouri

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s industrial facilities is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the health of businesses,” said Jean Lupinacci, chief of the ENERGY STAR commercial & industrial branch. “From the plant floor to the boardroom, organizations are leading the way by making their facilities more efficient and achieving EPA’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry.”

Grand Rapids Operations replaced 11,000 lights with LED tubes, improved its energy management systems and installed new variable-frequency drives on heating and cooling equipment, said GM. These activities resulted in an 18-percent reduction in energy intensity.

Bedford Casting Operations, an aluminum die casting facility, reduced its energy intensity by 12 percent through improvements such as installing high-efficiency burner controls on its melting furnaces and monitoring the energy use of facility equipment in real time.