GM plants cut energy use, add renewable energy sources

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: energy management

As a result of General Motors' commitment to renewable energy sources and conservation efforts, the company has reduced its energy use by 25 percent and added solar and landfill gas as energy sources at its North American facilities over the past five years.

"General Motors has a corporate commitment to make our vehicles and our facilities energy efficient, and we have a long history of energy reduction efforts at our plants," David Skiven, executive director, GM Worldwide Facilities Group, said Friday in a keynote address at the World Energy Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C.

GM is one of the leading users of renewable energy in the North American manufacturing sector, with renewable energy sources representing about 2 percent of its energy use.

These energy strategies are part of an overall program that has enabled GM to reduce its energy use from 94 trillion BTUs in 2002, to an expected 72.5 trillion BTUs by the end of the year in GM's North American region.

GM's renewable energy portfolio includes:

  • The largest corporate use of landfill gas in the U.S. The sum of landfill gas capacity at seven GM operations using the fuel is equivalent to the energy needed to heat over 25,000 households, which represents about 1.6 trillion BTUs per year. Landfill gas installations at GM plants generate annual savings exceeding $5 million.
  • The nation's largest, corporate solar photo voltaic installation. This solar installation directly converts solar power into electricity.
  • New small hydro-power installations for GM facilities in Mexico that will become operational in 2007.

"The combination of cost and environmental benefits makes renewable energy sources extremely important to us," Skiven said. "Our use of alternative energy is a sound business decision, resulting in lower costs and a broader portfolio of energy sources."

General Motors also has achieved substantial energy use reduction as a result of its commitment to energy conservation initiatives in its operations.

"Although renewable energy projects are highly visible and intriguing, equally important are consistent efforts to drive energy savings in our ongoing manufacturing operations," said Skiven.

GM's conservation efforts include:

  • Installing common energy management and control systems for lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Improving compressed air systems and paint shop operations.
  • Participating in the U.S. EPA Green Lights Program to install more efficient lighting systems in GM's North American facilities.

"At General Motors, we believe that managing energy use is a vital part of our business," Skiven said. "Smart energy decisions are not only good for the environment; they are good for the bottom line."

General Motors, the world's largest automaker, employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries.

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