General Motor’s Joinville Engine plant in Brazil has become the first South American automotive plant to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. The Joinville facility joins GM’s five other LEED-certified facilities in both the US and China.
“The environmental performance of this plant has been on our minds since Day One of construction,” president of GM Brasil, Santiago Chamorro, said in a statement. “This operation embodies GM’s outlook on integrating sustainability into every decision we make – from building efficient facilities to designing efficient vehicles.”
The recognition is the result of early investments made into environmental sustainability when construction on the plant began two years ago. A 350-kilowatt solar array powers plant-floor and office lighting, preventing 10.5 tons of CO2 entering the earth’s atmosphere annually. The solar power is also used to heat 15,000 liters of water per day, helping to reduce natural gas costs and avoiding 17.6 tons of CO2 emissions each year.
The plant also uses reverse osmosis to filter wastewater for toilet flushing and industrial uses such as cooling towers, which helps save 22.9 million liters of water every year.
“Joinville’s environmental activity is aligned with everything we stand for as a company,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. “From the use of solar power to water conservation, this is how we want all of our facilities to aspire to operate.”
Currently, the Joinville plant is working on achieving landfill-free status, which would see no waste from daily operations be sent off to a landfill. When certified, the plant will join six other South American facilities and more than 100 GM global facilities to have earned the title. GM has more landfill-free facilities than any other automaker and hopes to have 125 landfill-free facilities by 2020.