Most landfills have a gas problem.
The garbage decomposes and the gas is collected and burned off.
But at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Mich., we take the energy from nearby landfills and funnel it back into the plant, which, in turn, powers some of the processes that go into building the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano – two of GM’s recent entries into the small car market. From a green perspective, it’s totally awesome, but it also shows that Orion stands out among our sustainable facilities.
Here’s what we’re doing at Orion Assembly:
• Renewable energy saves GM $1.1 million a year, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
• Upgraded lighting saved 5,944 MWh last year, resulting in electricity savings of $430,000 while eliminating CO2 output by 3,676 metric tons.
• We’ve redirected waste into new-vehicle components. Recycled cardboard packaging (from Orion and other GM plants) and used denim are part of the Verano’s sound insulation material.
• A revamped paint shop designed for efficiency will now run on less than half of the energy used per vehicle than the older one. The shop is heated by natural and landfill gas and will coat the vehicles in new eco-friendly paint.
As we converted the facility to support this small car program, we engineered in flexibility and lean manufacturing concepts that not only supported a competitive business case, but enhanced environmental performance.
We strive to reduce the impact of our facilities and our vehicles, and Orion Assembly is a good example of how we do both. Production of both vehicles will begin at Orion later this fall and vehicles will be on sale by the end of the year.
To read the news release in its entirety, please click here.