Volvo Trucks' manufacturing plant in Dublin, Virginia has achieved a 30-percent reduction in energy intensity in just one year, making it the first company to meet a 10-year challenge established by the Department of Energy, the Save Energy Now LEADER Program.In late 2009, 32 major companies committed to reducing their energy intensity per unit of production by 25 percent over a decade. The latest announcement from Volvo makes it clear that the plant far exceeded that goal, having reduced its energy intensity per truck from 79.64 MMbtu in 2009 to 60.42 in 2010.
1,000 Ideas That Save $1 Each
SustainableBusiness.com has a smart quote from the company's COO Patrick Collignon, illustrating the way more companies should be thinking:
"To use a financial analogy, it's not always easy to come up with an idea that saves $1,000, but it is usually possible to come up with 1,000 ideas that save one dollar each. In our case, we did both."
More on the energy savings from Environmental Leader:
To reach the aggressive energy reduction goals, Volvo Trucks established a dedicated energy team at the plant. Team members agreed to pursue many small energy-saving tactics and also to attack the biggest energy-consuming processes.
Company-wide efforts include the use of a building automation system to control building temperatures and turn off lighting, a passive solar wall and photovoltaic solar panels. Skylights, new light fixtures (including LED), infrared heaters and solar water heaters were installed. As cost savings were found, those funds were re-invested in other energy reduction strategies.
DOE itself praises Volvo's steps toward energy efficiency, and highlights the direct link between a healthy environment and a healthy economy:
The investments Volvo made in energy efficiency have now paid impressive dividends in terms of the company's cost savings, jobs impact, competitiveness, and environmental footprint. Embracing common-sense, but often overlooked energy efficiency measures helped Volvo cut costs and keep operations--and jobs--for its truck manufacturing business here in the United States. Every Volvo truck sold in the U.S. is built by United Auto Workers -represented workers at the NRV plant. Volvo is now the largest employer in southwestern Virginia with 2,200 employees at its NRV plant. As such, its determination to keep operations -- along with the paychecks from those operations -- in the United States has helped to bolster the local economy.
More on emissions and energy intensity:
32 US Firms Commit To Reduce Energy Intensity 25 Percent, Over 10 Years
Jargon Watch: "Transportation Energy Intensity" of Buildings
China Announces Emissions Reduction Targets (But They're Not Really Reductions)