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GM Converts 100th Facility to Landfill-Free Status

Maker now recycling 2.6 million metric tons of trash annually.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Eddie Mora moves a stack of pallets bound for recycling at the General Motors Lansing Customer Care and Aftersales facility in Lansing, Michigan.

Next time you complain about taking out the trash put it into perspective: even if you’ve only got one big green bag you’re still sending more garbage to the local landfill than 100 of General Motors’ assembly plants and other facilities.

The maker today announced that it has converted its Lansing Customer Care and Aftersales facility to landfill-free status.  That makes it the 100th GM site to completely recycle 100% of its waste.

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“Our landfill-free program continues to strengthen our business by creating efficiencies, generating revenue and inspiring innovation with products made from recycled content,” Mike Robinson, GM vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs, said in a statement. “It’s a mission that’s integrated within our business processes. Everyone here plays a role in its success.”


Ford, GM Aim to Slash Energy Used to Build Cars

Makers turn to everything from efficient lighting to solar power.

by on Jun.18, 2012

A worker assembles the Ford Focus Electric battery car at a suburban Detroit plant.

Automakers are under pressure to sharply reduce the amount of fuel used by their cars, trucks and crossovers.  But Ford Motor Co. is taking aim at the energy needed to build those vehicles.

The maker says it has already trimmed the energy requirements of its assembly lines by 20% since 2006 and wants to slash that by another 25% between now and 2016.  Ford isn’t the only maker looking to trim energy use, however, and General Motors this week will begin drawing much of the energy for one of its larger plants from the sun.

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“Sustainability has moved from the periphery to the center of our strategy for succeeding in the marketplace and helping to address global challenges,” said Robert Brown, Ford’s Vice President for Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

Producing an automobile is an energy-intensive process, according to the second-largest U.S. maker.


GM Parterning with Solar Power Provider

Maker betting use of sun power will double by 2016.

by on Jul.28, 2011

Sunlogic solar canopies will be used at a variety of GM dealerships and other operations.

General Motors Ventures, GM’s private venture capital fund, will investment $7.5 million in Sunlogics PLC, a firm specializing in solar projects.The investment reflects estimates that the use of solar panels will double between now and 2016.

Sunlogics will shift its headquarters to Michigan and in the process create 200 new jobs in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills.

Officials say GM Ventures is looking for more projects in which to invest, and is particularly interested in projects in infotainment, advanced materials and advance manufacturing.

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“There is an obvious bias towards clean energy,” saiid John Lauckner, president of GM Ventures, the $100 million fund created last year to invest in companies with advanced technology.

About $45 million of the initial $100 million GM put into the fund has been invested in six different projects, Lauckner said. The fund has also assumed control of two investments in biofuels made before the fund was created.


Chevy Goes Solar to Power Volt Plant

Massive solar array could keep 150 battery cars running.

by on May.11, 2011

GM will cover six acres at its Chevy Volt plant with solar power arrays.

General Motors has been telling potential buyers to plug in with the new Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.  Now the maker wants to do the same thing, plugging into a new solar power array at the Volt plant in Detroit.

The 516-kilowatt grid will be the largest in the region and is expected to provide enough power to keep 150 Chevy Volts fully powered at all times.  Were the system used to charge up the plug-in hybrids as they roll off the assembly line, before shipment to customers, the solar array would be able to handle nearly 55,000 of the battery cars annually – significantly more than GM has plans to produce in the near future, so surplus energy will help power the plant itself.

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“This array will significantly decrease energy consumption by combining solar power with ongoing efficiency tactics such as lighting and equipment upgrades and automating equipment shut-down,” said Bob Ferguson, vice president of GM Public Policy.

The 264,000 square-foot solar array is being developed in cooperation with local power provider DTE Energy, which is investing $3 million into the project.  That underscores the challenges proponents of green energy face making a viable business case.  The array is expected to cut GM’s energy bill by $15,000 annually, which means the so-called payback period would stretch out over several centuries.