General Motors has made green manufacturing commitments across the entire globe, but its latest initiative hits home. The Detroit-Hamtramck facility will now save GM $2 million annually by capturing and using rainwater throughout the four million square-foot facility.
“Sustainability is a high priority at General Motors,” GM Manufacturing Manager Bill Shaw said. “This project demonstrates how an engaged team can foster innovative ideas to achieve this priority while increasing shareholder value through business results.”
Previously, the facility housed two stormwater retention ponds on its grounds but paid fees to send excess water to the city’s treatment plant. These charges accounted for 14 percent of the plant’s entire utility bill. Now, with the addition of a third stormwater retention pond, the facility can now hold 47 million gallons of water. That’s equivalent to a 100-year-long storm.
The project’s investment will pay for itself in just over a year, as even leftover reject water is used to break down paint sludge from the plant’s paint facility, saving another $75,000 per year.
The project is a small piece of GM’s commitment to reduce water usage by by 15 percent by 2020. GM has reduced its overall usage by 10 percent between 2010 and 2015.