Ford reduces manufacturing impact on environment

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Earth Day (April 22) is a time to reflect on what society is doing to address climate change and energy security, and a reminder that preserving the earth is the responsibility of all who use it. As part of Ford Motor Company’s commitment to do its part, the company is dramatically improving the efficiency of its manufacturing operations worldwide and increasing the use of renewable or “green” energy sources.

Since 2000, Ford has reduced its global operational energy use by 30 percent (3 percent improvement from a year ago), CO2 emissions from our facilities by 39 percent (11 percent improvement from a year ago) and water use by 43 percent (21 percent improvement from a year ago). Ford improved energy efficiency in the U.S. by 4.5 percent, resulting in a savings of about $18 million.

Globally, renewable or "green" power supplies about 3 percent of Ford’s energy needs. Ford uses hydro-power, solar and wind power, landfill gas and waste gases, and other sources to supply some of its global energy needs.   

“We continue to make great strides in reducing the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations worldwide by improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable resources worldwide,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.  

These improvements can be attributed to a number of sustainability initiatives the company has implemented. Besides using more green or renewable energy, Ford is improving efficiency through the replacement or upgrade of heating, ventilating and cooling systems; improvements in lighting and vehicle painting systems; and water reduction and recycling projects.

“We integrate sustainability goals into our manufacturing operations to drive progress," Cischke said. “This effort is demonstrated by the improvements we've made on energy usage and water reduction.”

Reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions from our manufacturing operations is part of Ford’s broader approach to minimize the environmental impact of its vehicles during their life cycle. However, while climate change is one of the major challenges facing society, there is no single solution for addressing it. On the vehicle side, Ford has developed a near-, mid- and long-term strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency. 


  • The company engages in plant- and facility-wide initiatives around the globe to reduce its impact on the environment and the communities in which it operates. The following is only a sampling of these initiatives.   
  • Dearborn, Mich.: In 2005, Ford’s renowned Rouge Center captured global attention for its redevelopment that focused on incorporating environmentally-friendly and sustainable processes into the site. Examples of installed technologies include:
    • Photovoltaic array and solar thermal collector at its Visitor Center.
    • World’s largest living roof system at its Dearborn Truck Plant
      • Reduces solar thermal load while varieties of sedum ground cover convert CO2 to oxygen.
        • Porous pavement lot.
        • Storm water management system.
        • Underground storage basins.
        • Natural wetlands and retention ponds.
        • A new green-belt promenade along the plant’s main road.
  • Lima, Ohio: Lima Engine Plant installed a geothermal system that cools the plant, which eliminates 4,300 metric tons of CO2 each year. This site also uses reclaimed landfill gas and low-impact hydro. These installations combined reduce CO2 emissions by 144,000 metric tons per year.
  • Oakville, Canada: Ford’s Fumes-to-Fuel process converts paint emissions into electricity at its Oakville Assembly Plant. The program, also at Michigan Truck in Dearborn, involves one-third of the fumes in one paint booth, yet 45-50 kilowatts of electricity are produced daily when the system is running, enough to meet the typical demand of an average suburban block of houses.
  • Avon Lake, Ohio: At Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant, the three-wet paint application process results in a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, as well as VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds) by about 10 percent. 
  • Dagenham, England: Ford is adding a third wind turbine at its Dagenham engine manufacturing plant (outside of London). The extra turbine enables Ford's Dagenham Diesel Centre to remain 100 percent powered by wind generated energy and will have an energy capacity equivalent to powering 1,000 homes.  Currently, the two existing turbines help Ford reduce CO2 emissions by more than 6,500 tons per year since 2004.
  • Cologne, Germany: As of 2008, Ford began sourcing renewable electricity to cover the full electric power demand of its manufacturing and engineering facilities at its Cologne plant helping Ford to reduce its CO2 emissions 190,000 tons per year. The green electric power comes from fully renewable, environmentally-friendly source: three hydro-power plants in Norway and Sweden.
  • Kansas City, Mo.: Ford is piloting carbon-neutral manufacturing for its hybrid vehicles at its Kansas City Assembly Plant. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacturing of these vehicles is done by purchasing carbon offset credits, many of which will fund renewable energy projects. For example, Ford will purchase renewable energy certificates from wind power projects to offset CO2 generated in the manufacturing the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid.


  • Ford was the first automaker to estimate its total greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities.
  • In Wales, Ford’s Brigend engine plant was the first site retrofitted with one of the largest integrated, grid-connected solar/photovoltaic installations at a car manufacturing plant in Europe.   
  • Ford was the first automaker to participate in carbon trading markets in North America and the United Kingdom.
  • Ford is the only automaker to voluntarily accept CO2 emissions targets in the U.K. emissions trading scheme and the Chicago Climate Exchange.
  • Ford only automaker to win EPA’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award in two successive years (2006, 2007) and its Sustained Excellence Award this year.
  • Ford, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology, designed an overseas shipping container made of polypropylene plastic that after use can be ground up and used in plastic auto parts.
  • Ford engages its suppliers in its quest to help reduce the industry’s impact on the environment through its Code of Basic Working Conditions established in 2003.
  • Ford is only automaker to have been chosen best-in-class on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) annual review of global automotive sustainability leaders six consecutive years.
  • Ford was first automaker to certify all its manufacturing plants worldwide under ISO 14001, a voluntary international environmental management system standard.
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