GM Now Up To 63 Energy Star Challenge Plants

Nine more General Motors facilities have achieved the U.S. EPA ENERGY STA voluntary Challenge for Industry, bringing the company’s total to 63.

According to GM, this represents more facilities than any organization worldwide.

GM said the specific challenge – to cut energy intensity by 10 percent within five years – resulted in a collective avoidance of $162 million in energy costs and a reduction of 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 – equivalent to the electricity use of 244,000 homes.

The conservation efforts from the nine new and 22 repeat achievers helped reduce energy by 23 percent in just two to three years, contributing $72 million to the total savings.

“Creativity and energy management go hand-in-hand at GM,” said Tim Lee, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and chairman of GM China. “We’ve been consistently cutting energy use and emissions each year, requiring us to dig deeper for innovative paths to energy savings. Environmental responsibility – and its corresponding business benefits — continues to be an everyday driver within our facilities.”

The U.S. EPA’s call to action to the industrial community complemented GM’s own goal to slash energy and carbon intensity 20 percent by 2020.

The company has implemented a variety of savings initiatives worldwide:

  • Rayong Assembly in Thailand conducts regular energy audits on the weekends, has installed LED lighting in the paint inspection areas and installed skylights to harvest daylight.
  • Flint (Mich.) Assembly, one of GM’s oldest facilities, upgraded its lighting and cut steam heat for cost and carbon reductions.
  • St. Petersburg Assembly employees in Russia installed devices that control consumption of various energy sources and developed procedures that decreased equipment start-up time, lessening energy wasted before work begins.

“GM spends more than $1 billion on energy, and although it is a small percentage of overall operating costs, it is an expense that must be properly managed,” said Al Hildreth, GM energy manager. “We measure energy on an hourly basis to give us an accurate snapshot of performance and opportunities.”

GM said its energy efficiency measures engage all employees at its facilities, from people monitoring energy dashboards to those assembling vehicles on a plant floor. The 63 facilities that met the ENERGY STAR challenge represent 42 percent of GM’s global manufacturing operations.

“Energy efficiency can deliver significant financial and environmental benefits, and we look forward to General Motors’ continued leadership and partnership with ENERGY STAR,” said Jean Lupinacci, chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Program.

Last year, U.S. EPA named GM an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Sustained Excellence, the agency’s highest recognition for corporate energy management. The company also published 10 ways to be energy efficient at home on its environmental blog, as well as energy savings tips for organizations.