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GM Sustainability Update: Energy Intensity Drops 6%

General Motors has realized year-over-year gains against all of its 2020 environmental goals, including reducing its energy intensity by six percent in that time period, according to an update to the company’s first sustainability report since re-organizing in 2009.

According to the update, the company reduced the MWh of energy per vehicle manufactured from 2.49 in 2010 to 2.34 in 2011. Data for the 2010 base year was adjusted from 2.59 to 2.49 to reflect divested assets and updated emission factors, which the company says is consistent with greenhouse gas protocol. GM has lowered its 2020 target from 2.07 to 1.99 MWh per vehicle to reflect this change, the report says.

GM’s most efficient region in 2011 in terms of carbon intensity was GM International Operations, which covers Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. GMIO used 1.24 MWh per vehicle in 2011. GM’s South American operations used 1.31 MWh per vehicle and its European facilities used 2.47 MWh per vehicle. The company’s least-efficient region in 2011 was North America. That region used 4.05 MWh per vehicle manufactured.

The company’s carbon intensity fell 4.5 percent year-on-year, from 0.88 metric tons of CO2 per vehicle manufactured in 2010 to 0.84 in 2011. Similar to the energy figures, the 2010 base year recording was revised down from 0.93 metric tons per vehicle as a result of divested assets. The company’s 2020 target was adjusted to 0.70 metric tons per vehicle to reflect the change.

Progress on these goals was achieved through ongoing measures and capital investment, including automated shutdown of equipment when not in use, installation of energy-efficient lighting, consumption tracking and analysis through energy management systems, and upgrades to more efficient heating and cooling systems, the report says. In 2011, GM’s investments in energy-efficient building services yielded $11.6 million in annual savings, while process improvements yielded an additional $7.9 million, according to the company.

GM was named as an EPA 2012 Energy Star Partner of the Year in the motor vehicle category. The recognition was based on several initiatives, including an energy management dashboard system that monitors 2.5 million pieces of energy data per minute and that led to savings of more than $3 million in 2011; a $12 million investment in energy cost-saving projects; and $2 million in savings from powering four facilities with landfill gas, the report says.

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