10 Tips for Better Energy Management
When it comes to efficiently operating GM facilities, our team possesses a
competitive spirit that pushes us to get the most out of our facilities by using the
least amount of energy.
We dont keep our energy reduction methods a secret. Its beneficial for all
companies to share best practices to achieve common goals. In our work laying
out a blueprint for reducing waste, we've learned some lessons on how a company
can cut its energy use. Here they are:
1. Engage Objective Experts: The best judges are those with no immediate
stake in the results. In 2012, we contracted an independent third party to
validate our global energy, water, greenhouse gas, production usage and
environmental data for all of our manufacturing and major non-manufacturing
1. Set Goals: Goals are an integral part of running a successful business. We
set energy and environmental goals and then integrate them into our
manufacturing business plans. Each of our facilities develops their own
energy efficiency plan to meet their objectives.
1. Benchmark: Using external benchmarking resources from EPA ENERGY
STAR, we identify plants that are within the top 25th percentile of
automobile companies so that opportunities can be prioritized and best
practices identified and shared globally.
1. Invest in Energy Efficiency: GM allocates monies for high-return efficiency
projects. We collect proposed projects from facilities and prioritize them
based on return on investment and probability of successful implementation.
This year, we spent $20 million on energy efficiency in the U.S., and as a
result reduced manufacturing energy intensity by eight percent from the
1. Monitor Constantly: Across all of our U.S facilities, we monitor about 2.5
million points of energy data per minute. Thats a lot of data, and to
adequately manage it we, in conjunction with Science Applications
International Corporation, Inc. operate a dashboard system called Energy
OnStar. Assisted by the third party, plants compare hourly performance of
heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment and their energy use to
identify opportunities on a real-time basis. As a result of seeing this feedback,
we implemented more than $3 million worth of energy savings at our U.S.
facilities this year via Energy OnStar.
1. Measure Performance: We keep employees informed of our energy, water
and CO2 intensity performance on scorecards, helping us determine how
were tracking against monthly and annual goals. Any performance with less
than a green status requires a countermeasure to be developed to correct
it, which is also tracked with additional emphasis to ensure achievement.
1. Involve and Reward Employees: We use a formal employee suggestion
system. Not a slip of paper dropped in a suggestion box, but a process where
U.S. employees active involvement pays off literally. Employees who
suggest an improvement to an existing process can receive a portion of the
implemented savings up to $20,000. Weve implemented many employee
ideas in the last year, yielding hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy,
water and carbon reduction savings.
1. Share Best Practices throughout Organization: Reducing energy
consumption is a global team effort and requires collaboration from all levels.
We use a global web-based system where plants and offices around the globe
can input energy, water and carbon-reduction best practices for all GM team
members to learn from and improve upon.
1. Be Transparent: We calculate greenhouse gases through a web-based
global system that shows energy effect on carbon emissions and water
intensity. This information is reported publicly to the Carbon Disclosure
Project (CDP) and in our annual Sustainability Report.
1. Communicate: GM communicates progress, shares results, discusses the
implementation of ideas and tells stories of its global energy and water
efficiency gains through a variety of channels like our internal e-newsletters,
employee intranet and our environmental blog. A project isnt complete
unless its talked about, since that often inspires and sparks other ideas.
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