Volvo Group North America says it’s on the way toward achieving its goal of reduced energy consumption in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge.
The company announced Tuesday it met its first Better Plants goal – a 25 percent reduction in energy consumption at U.S. facilities – five years ahead of schedule, and set a new goal of 25 percent more in savings by 2024. In the first three years of the new challenge, the Volvo Group is more than halfway to its target, reducing energy consumption by 14.4 percent compared with a 2014 baseline, according to an announcement.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done within the Volvo Group to improve our efficiency and reduce our impact on the environment,” says Rick Robinson, director of health, safety and environment for Volvo Group North America. “As we shift from technical changes – which tend to have a large one-time impact – to operational and behavioral changes that are more people-driven, we see that commitment reflected in our employees. These creative and committed employees are really driving our progress toward our new goal.”
While structural upgrades like LED lighting and modernized HVAC systems are playing a part, many of the energy saving ideas came from energy “treasure hunts” at Volvo Group facilities, the company says. These are events in which employee teams observe their facilities during idle or partially idle periods (frequently Sunday) to identify energy waste. Two such events conducted on two consecutive weekends in the fall of 2017 at the Volvo Trucks New River Valley plant in Dublin,Va., and the Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations in Macungie, Pa., identified approximately $700,000 in low-cost or no-cost energy efficiency opportunities. An additional treasure hunt at the South Plainfield, N.J., Prevost facility uncovered $12,000 in potential savings opportunities, which was equivalent to 34 percent of the utility expenditures.
Volvo Group North America’s progress in energy efficiency reflects efforts to reduce consumption at eight manufacturing facilities and six service centers in the United States:
- Volvo Trucks, Dublin, Va.
- Volvo Group Powertrain, Hagerstown, Md.
- Mack Trucks, Macungie, Pa.
- Volvo Construction Equipment, Shippensburg, Pa.
- Volvo Penta, Lexington, Tenn.
- Volvo Bus, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- Volvo Group Remanufacturing, Charlotte, N.C.
- Volvo Group Remanufacturing, Middletown, Pa.
- Prevost Service Centers in Tennessee, New Jersey, Texas, California and Florida
Since DOE launched the Better Buildings, Better Plants program, nearly 200 partners have saved $4.2 billion and 830 trillion BTUs of energy.
The Better Buildings, Better Plants program is one way in which the Volvo Group has worked with DOE to improve the efficiency of its facilities. Three of the company’s manufacturing sites – Lehigh Valley Operations, New River Valley and Hagerstown – are platinum-level partners in the DOE’s Superior Energy Performance program, the highest certification available in the United States, according to the company.
“The DOE has been an excellent partner in helping us meet and exceed our goals,” says Robinson. “The resources and expertise they’ve made available have helped us save money and take a leading role in preserving our environment.”