General Motors has been awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for energy management — the highest recognition a corporation can receive from the organization.
In 2012, the automaker improved energy efficiency of its U.S. operations by 11 percent over 2011, saving $20 million in energy costs in the process. In addition, it avoided 280,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of 52,900 passenger vehicles. These accomplishments contribute to GM’s goal to reduce energy intensity from all U.S. facilities by 20 percent by 2020.
Far from an isolated effort, the automaker’s energy efficiency endeavors propagate throughout the organization: “Everyone involved – from executives to the plant level – understands the importance of a solid energy efficiency strategy,” said Al Hildreth, GM energy manager. “With tactics for conserving energy built into our day-to-day operations, it has become a standard aspect of our manufacturing process.”
In fact, GM was also recognized by the EPA in 2012 for its energy savings efforts, and has since then worked to improve energy performance, increasing the number of plants that meet the Energy Star Challenge from 30 to 54. The automaker has even earned the Energy Star certification for two assembly plants, four warehouses and an office building.
GM’s other energy-related accomplishments in 2012 included:
- Tracking energy use on a real-time basis for U.S. manufacturing sites resulted in nearly 2.5 million points of energy data, which are monitored every minute to create real-time energy performance indicators.
- Managing energy in its operations by retro-commissioning two assembly plants’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to save $5 million in 2012, and applying similar processes elsewhere in the United States to save $3 million.
Aside from its energy management efforts, GM also excels in other environmentally-friendly practices such as recycling and reuse. The latter brings the automaker $1 billion a year in revenues.