Going green has become a core goal for the General Motors Orion Assembly plant recently.
The plant announced on June 18 they had partnered with DTE Energy to turn an empty 2.1 acres of land on the plant’s property into a solar panel array. It will send all the energy it produces back to DTE for distribution and is projected to provide enough energy for 45 homes in the area.
“Along with safety, people, quality and responsiveness, environment is part of our core business drive,” said Carter Sperry, Orion Assembly quality operator.
The solar panel array is the latest program implemented to reduce energy costs.
Instead of using natural gas, the plant uses gas-generated by an on-site landfill. The gas in the landfill is produced as garbage breaks down.
Lighting is also automatically turned off by an automated system during assembly crew breaks and shift changes.
The lightbulbs in the plant have been converted from high-intensity discharge lightbulbs to fluorescent bulbs.
Before theses changes were made, the plant’s energy bill was $18 million. After the installation of these programs, energy costs have fallen to $11 million.
“We are very focused on the environment and reducing our energy footprint,” said Steve Brock, Orion assembly plant manager.
Besides new programs to reduce energy consumption, the plant has instituted several recycling programs to become more environmentally friendly and generate money.
“We are very driven around recycling,” Sperry said.
The assembly plant also recycles paper, plastics and batteries in receptacles that are set up around the 4.3 million square foot building.
All cardboard used in the plant is recycled on-site and then sold to a third-party company.
During the first year of production, the plant generated approximately $450,000 from selling the recycled cardboard.