Energy Savings = Money Savings

Doing good for the environment can do really well for a manufacturer’s bottom line.



Last year, General Motors saved $73-million while, at the same time, avoided putting 388,000 metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

What’s not to like about that?

GM accomplished that by reducing its energy intensity. By reducing waste.

And there’s more.

GM earned the 2017 EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence award. This is the sixth year in a row that the OEM has achieved a Partner of the Year award, indicating that this is an on-going commitment to reducing energy waste.

As Alicia Boler Davis, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing, puts it, “The ENERGY STAR program’s benchmarking and modeling helps reduce our carbon footprint, while also saving GM millions of dollars.”

For example, it has reduced energy use on a per-vehicle basis at its U.S. manufacturing plants by 10 percent as compared with that used in 2015. This is calculated to be a savings of in excess of $10-million, or the profit from the sale of 10,000 vehicles.

The OEM has completed a $20-million investment in energy-efficiency projects in its U.S. facilities—and expects to have an average payback in two years. After two years, it is all upside.

It achieved the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry at 12 of its plants, to bring the total number of plants to reach that goal to 75, which is more than any other company can claim.

And it isn’t just factories. For example, one of its 15 buildings to be ENERGY STAR certified in 2016 is the Enterprise Data Center at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. (The data center also earned Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, program. One of the clever things it did is to deploy an uninterruptible power supply that isn’t based on massive batteries but mechanical flywheels and a diesel engine.) The data center is one of just 105 in the U.S. that is ENERGY STAR certified—and it is the only one at an automaker. One of the things they’re doing to reduce energy is taking advantage of the climate in Michigan: for nearly three-quarters of the year the water used to cool the data servers is pumped outside for natural cooling—bypassing the HVAC system—then brought in to keep the temperature moderated.

GM has implemented a new energy management system in its non-manufacturing facilities, which it says saves the company $2-million annually.

Overall, GM is has reduced its energy and carbon intensity by 15 percent since 2010. It is on the path to reducing both by 20 percent by 2020.

What’s more, according to  Boler Davis , “We continue to introduce the program to our suppliers so they, too, can further increase operational efficiency and realize financial and environmental benefits from energy conservation.”