Nissan’s all-electric Leaf is an efficient car, and now its U.S. plants responsible for its production are more efficient too, as Nissan has won for the third straight year the EPA’s 2014 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award.
Nissan and other award winners were selected from 16,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program. The EPA’s highest ENERGY STAR awards—the 2014 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards — are given to those for a consistent commitment to increasing energy efficiency in their operations.
The company earned these distinctions this year by finding ways to save substantial energy in its own operations, and it reported it contributed to saving energy usage patterns for others in the community as well.
Nissans’ Energy Management Team said it plugged a big energy loss when it fixed “countless” miles of compressed air tubing used in its manufacturing facilities in Smyrna and Decherd, Tenn., and Canton, Miss. This conserved more than 20 percent of pressurized air energy that was escaping through leaks.
“We saved enough energy to power more than 700 homes for a year, offset the greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 2,800 tons of landfill waste or better yet, to drive the all-electric Nissan Leaf around the earth more than 40,000 times,” said John Martin, Nissan’s senior vice president, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management and Purchasing.
The team also added skylights in Decherd to reduce need for electric lighting during the daytime.
And, it corrected inefficiencies in a former paint plant at Smyrna, which led to the installation of Nissan’s “most advanced paint plant in the world” in early 2013.
This paint plant uses a “three-wet paint process” that applies all three layers of paint successively before placing the vehicle in a curing oven; and this saves 30 percent of the energy of the previous conventional process.
Outside the ground of its property, the team at the Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant said it helped 14 Mississippi schools obtain ENERGY STAR certification for their buildings.
This community give back was equal to 10 teachers’ salaries in energy savings.
Along these same lines of community involvement, Nissan shared best practices for energy management with 10 organizations including other ENERGY STAR partners, suppliers and local government officials at its Decherd facility. In these discussions Nissan and partners identified ideas that could save as much as $1.5 million in energy costs.
“With major manufacturing operations in the Southeast and multiple R&D, design, testing and distribution facilities across the country, we recognize the importance of being environmental stewards within the community,” said Martin. “It’s more than just a sustainability strategy; it makes good business sense for Nissan—now and for the road ahead.”