Tonawanda News — General Motors announced Thursday that the Tonawanda plant has successfully meet voluntary energy-reduction challenges set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Our employees are committed to helping increase our global operations’ energy efficiency,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “They remain at the core of our progress.”
To meet the goals for the EPA’s new Energy Star Challenge for Industry, facilities need to reduce their energy intensity by 10 percent within five years.
But the Tonawanda plant went above and beyond those goals — cutting its energy intensity by 31 percent. By doing so, the plant avoided 19,600 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere — the equivalent of electricity use by 2,215 homes annually.
The cuts resulted in almost $2.7 million in energy savings annually, with total company-wide savings amounting to $90 million.
GM’s energy cuts lead all other companies worldwide.
To achieve the challenge locally, employees at the Tonawanda plant used energy-saving tactics such as eliminating excess lighting fixtures in two plants, which saved enough electricity to power 406 homes, and implementing natural gas reduction projects that will cut back o enough natural gas to heat 212 homes annually.
“Our employees understand the commitment it takes to be as energy efficient as possible in our day-to-day operations,” said Steve Finch, Tonawanda Engine plant manager. “It’s part of our business plan to look for ways to improve the environment and energy efficiency, and involves employees at all levels of the organization.”
Tonawanda’s ongoing energy efforts have also resulted in recycling 99 percent of waste generated at the plant — recycling 10,000 tons of scrap metal, enough to make 10,000 cars.
The success comes after the company received an Energy Star Partner of the Year Award in 2011.
Between 2005 and 2010, the company reduced energy use in all facilities by 28 percent. The company has set a new goal to again reduce use by 20 percent in all plants by 2020.