The North American division of Volvo Trucks (Stockholm: VOLV-B.ST) has reached a milestone which saw the company reduce energy consumption at its Virginia plant by 30% in response to a challenge issued by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009.
The production of all Volvo trucks in North America is conducted at the company's New River Valley (NRV) plant in Virginia. The auto manufacturer sees the accomplishment as an important part of the overall environmental goals and values of Volvo Trucks.
The DOE challenge, called the Save Energy Now® LEADER Program, attracted 32 companies including 3M, Nissan, Dow Corning and AT&T. The participants were required to sign a voluntary pledge to reduce their industrial energy intensity by 25 percent over the next decade. Volvo trucks was able to meet this target in just under two years, exceeding the original 25% goal by an additional 5%.
To meet and exceed the challenge so quickly, the auto manufacturer swiftly employed the following measures:
- Establishing a dedicated energy team at the NRV plant and working to make energy savings part of the employee mindset.
- Creating a detailed energy map to assess where and how energy was being used in the company.
- Automating systems to control building temperatures and turn off lighting.
- Installing a passive solar wall and photovoltaic solar panels.
- Installing Skylights, new light fixtures (including LED), infrared heaters and solar water heaters.
- Reinvesting cost savings from energy reduction into other strategies.
Although they’ve met and exceeded the challenge, Volvo Trucks vows not to stop here. A number of additional opportunities with reductions in energy usage of 10 to 20 percent have been identified and the plant is also pursuing ISO50001 certification as well as working towards carbon neutrality within the next two years.
Image credit: Martin Pettitt via Flickr
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