GM Cuts Energy Use by One-Quarter at North American Facilities

Detroit, USA - General Motors says it 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.

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 2006 in GM’s North American region.

“General Motors has a corporate commitment to making our vehicles and our facilities energy efficient, and we have a long history of energy reduction efforts at our plants,” said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president, Environment and Energy.

GM’s Service Parts Operations Parts Distribution Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., for example, is the nation’s largest, corporate solar photo voltaic installation. Solar panels lining the roof help keep costs down and reduce the facility’s environmental impact:

  • From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., solar panels power the warehouse where 215 employees ship nearly 76,000 customer orders to GM car dealerships across California and Arizona.
  • The facility will save 10 percent of its electricity costs each year by using solar panels to power 50 percent of its operations.
  • The solar energy not consumed will feed back into the California power grid; helping thousands of Californian’s power their own homes. For example in the month of September 2006, GM was able to power this facility and give back enough energy to power 210 homes within the surrounding community.
In addition to its solar facilities, GM’s renewable energy portfolio includes:

  • One of the largest corporate uses 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.
  • New small hydro-power installations for GM facilities in Mexico that will become operational in 2007.
“GM is one of the leading corporate users of on-site renewable energy in America,” said Craig Hanson, manager of the Green Power Market Development Group at the World Resources Institute, a Washington, DC non-profit environmental think-tank. “With these projects GM is demonstrating there’s a solid business case for using renewables and is building corporate markets for green power.”

David Skiven, executive director, GM Worldwide Facilities Group., said: “The combination of cost and environmental benefits makes renewable energy sources extremely important to us. 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 beyond renewable energy 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,” said Skiven. “Smart energy decisions are not only good for the environment; they are good for the bottom line.”

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