Big Win for Nissan is Big Win for Planet
Air is free, right? Tell that to the Nissan Energy Management Team that combed through countless miles of tubing in the compressed air system in U.S. manufacturing facilities and repaired enough leaks to save 11,300 megawatt hours of energy last year.
"We saved enough energy to power more than 700 homes for a year, offset the greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 2,800 tons of landfill waste or better yet, to drive the all-electric Nissan LEAF around the earth more than 40,000 times," John Martin, Nissan's senior vice president, manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing, said in a statement.
A common industrial challenge, the Nissan team estimated that more than 20 percent of compressed air used in manufacturing operations was wasted through air leaks at Nissan's manufacturing facilities in Smyrna and Decherd, Tenn., and Canton, Miss. "Thanks to the hard work by our Energy Management Team, we have implemented energy-reduction projects, like the air leak detection program, that helped us earn the prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2014 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the third consecutive year," Martin said.
The team even learned how to catch a ray of sunlight to use it for lighting in the Nissan Decherd Powertrain Assembly Plant. This daylight harvesting technique—along with new skylights—allows for more optimal lighting inside the plant while using substantially less energy.
The Energy Management team also identified inefficiencies in Nissan's former paint plant at its vehicle assembly facility in Smyrna, which led to the installation of the company's most advanced paint plant in the world in early 2013. By using an innovative three-wet paint process that applies all three paint layers in succession before the vehicle goes into the oven, the new paint plant uses 30 percent less energy during the paint process.
Nissan's energy savings strategies don't stop at its own doorstep—it extends lessons learned within its operations to the community by helping others achieve their energy-savings goals. In fact, the team at the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant helped 14 Mississippi schools obtain ENERGY STAR certification for their buildings, which led to a cost savings equal to 10 teachers' salaries.
Nissan also hosted 10 organizations including other ENERGY STAR partners, suppliers and local government officials at its Decherd facility where leaders shared best practices for energy management. Through those discussions, participants identified energy savings ideas that could potentially save up to $1.5 million in energy costs.
"With major manufacturing operations in the Southeast and multiple R&D, design, testing and distribution facilities across the country, we recognize the importance of being environmental stewards within the community," said Martin. "It's more than just a sustainability strategy; it makes good business sense for Nissan—now and for the road ahead."
EPA's highest ENERGY STAR awards—the 2014 Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Awards—are given to organizations to recognize their unwavering commitment to becoming increasingly more energy efficient. Award winners are selected from the 16,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program. Nissan's work with ENERGY STAR aligns with the company's sustainability strategy, the Nissan Green Program, and its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2016. Nissan's accomplishments will be recognized at an event in Washington, D.C., on April 29.