Since the beginning of the year, several major automotive manufacturers have received awards for their efforts to lower emissions, improve environmental quality, and reduce America’s costly energy consumption by initiating better manufacturing practices and increasing production of more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. While the task of achieving America’s energy independence is tremendously daunting and no one group could possibly halt the country’s use of foreign oil supply, auto manufacturers can make an enormous difference, and their “green” endeavors should be highly commended.

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Several automotive manufacturers are making great strides in the effort to reduce harmful emissions and to protect the environment through better manufacturing practices. NAFTC photo

General Motors (GM) recently announced its goal to reduce CO2 emissions from its U.S. manufacturing facilities by 40 percent by 2010 based on 2000 levels. The target was set as part of its voluntary partnership with the EPA’s Climate Leadership program. The reduction goal will be met by practices of which GM has already set into motion. For example, GM has increased the use of renewable resources such as landfill gas and solar power. The company is the largest corporate user of landfill gas in the United States, which results in significant reductions of CO2 emissions. GM has also recently earned the gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program for its advanced energy and environmental design and construction at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant.

Honda recently earned the title “2007 Greenest Automaker” from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) for the fourth consecutive time. The award is presented to the company with the lowest overall production of CO2 emissions in the United States with several criteria in mind. UCS determines the recipient of the award based on the manufacturer’s efforts to address emissions reduction to combat air pollution, improvements in fuel economy and efficiency, and advancements in alternative fuel technology.

“Honda remains the greenest U.S. automaker. The company installs clean technology across its entire fleet of cars and trucks, and that consistency makes it a top environmental performer. Honda is one of only two automakers to have better-than-average global warming scores in every class of vehicles it sold in MY2005,” said Don MacKenzie, a vehicles engineer with the UCS. “In addition, Honda continues to have the best smog score in four out of the five classes.”

Toyota was recently awarded a 2007 Energy Star Sustained Excellence award by the EPA for the company’s continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency. The awards are given to those companies who consistently exhibit outstanding leadership and set and achieve aggressive energy-efficiency goals. Recipients are also required to employ innovative approaches to these goals and show other companies what can be done through energy efficiency. The EPA Energy Star program recognizes leadership in energy-efficient products and services in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors. Thousands of organizations across the country compete for the awards.

“Partners like Toyota are outstanding leaders in protecting our environment through energy efficiency,” said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “As one of the 2007 Energy Star Sustained Excellence winners, Toyota has taken energy efficiency to new heights year after year, and we all benefit.”

Ford Motor Company received the 2007 Energy Star Partner of the Year award in Energy Management. Ford is the first automaker to receive the award two years running. The award recognizes significant efforts to use energy efficiently in facility operations and to “integrate superior energy management into overall organizational strategy.” Ford engaged in an extensive lighting replacement program which replaced lighting fixtures throughout Ford properties with ones that use 40 percent less energy and converted incandescent lights to low-energy, longer-lasting compact fluorescent lamps. The company also saved energy by developing the new “Paint Shop of the Future,” which consolidates the application of primer, base, and clearcoat into a single step process.

“Ford Motor Company is committed to the responsible use of resources,” said Sue Cischke, vice president, environmental and safety engineering. “Energy efficiency is critical to running a strong and successful business delivering both financial and environmental benefits.”




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