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Local Honda plants earn EPA Energy Star for sixth time

Two local Honda plants have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification for the sixth year, while its assembly plant in Indiana earned the designation for the first time, boosted by energy efficiency gains from the start of a second shift of auto production.

Honda of America Mfg.’s plants in East Liberty and Marysville have ongoing initiatives to reduce energy consumption. Major areas include installation of energy-efficient equipment, implementing new technologies in auto-body painting systems and lighting efficiency improvements.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC, the company’s newest plant in the United States, earned the recognition as it expanded production in October 2011 to a full two-shift assembly operation. Upon starting auto production in 2008, the plant incorporated Honda’s latest technologies to achieve energy-efficient operations, and started out as a zero-waste to landfill facility.

“Improving the energy efficiency of Honda manufacturing operations continues to be a big focus of the company’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our operations,” said Karen Heyob, who leads Honda’s environmental sustainability initiatives in North America. “We set challenging targets for improving energy efficiency at our facilities, and count on every Honda associate’s involvement in operating our plants efficiently, and to find and implement energy efficiency improvement opportunities.”

Earning ENERGY STAR certification signifies that a plant ranks among the top 25 percent of auto assembly plants in the nation with regard to energy performance. The EPA bases the award on the amount of energy needed to produce an automobile, taking into account factors such as vehicle size and production volume.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s industrial facilities is critical to protecting our environment, “ said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the plant floor to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their facilities more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”

Key initiatives Honda undertook in the past year

Electricity and natural gas represent 95 percent of total energy consumption at auto assembly plants and Honda has ongoing initiatives to minimize the environmental impact from the use of fossil fuels, including a reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana incorporated the company’s latest energy-saving technologies when it started production in 2008 with one-shift auto production. With the start of a full two shifts in 2011, energy characteristics designed into the plant allowed it to achieve top energy performance.

Those characteristics include paint booth designs that minimize the volume of temperature-controlled air, as well as systems to facilitate heat recovery and to recycle exhaust air. The Indiana plant also incorporated a building management system to optimize the control of heating, cooling and lighting needs.

Lighting

Both of Honda’s auto assembly plants in Ohio have focused on lighting efficiency improvements, including replacement of less-efficient T-12 fluorescent lighting with new T-8, T-5 and LED lighting systems, reducing energy use by 20 percent. In addition, they have been replacing magnetic ballast metal halide lighting with more efficient pulse-start ceramic metal halide or fluorescent technology. Upgrades completed in 2012 are expected to improve the power efficiency of those systems by an average of 15 percent.

Auto-Body Painting

The Marysville plant started using a new electro-deposition coating (e-coat) material on Paint Line 1 that requires less voltage in the e-coat bath. In addition to reducing electricity use by 20 percent -- from 6.7 to 5.3 kilowatt hours per auto body -- this process consumes 20 percent less make-up water, resulting in less load on motors for water transport.

A major auto-body painting renovation that started in late 2009 at the East Liberty plant continued in 2012, including a project to reduce the size of basecoat paint booths by approximately 40 percent, and installing a new paint system with fewer robots. When the East Liberty plant completes the projects in 2013, the overall improvements in auto-body painting efficiency will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 3,800 metric tons annually.

Plant Equipment Renewal, Energy Monitoring

The East Liberty plant replaced a 1,350-ton chiller, with efficiency of 0.68 kw/ton, with a new chiller (pictured) that has efficiency of 0.54 kw/ton, resulting in a 20 percent efficiency improvement. It also improved efficiency by resizing an air compressor to match non-production requirements.

Real-time metering at the Marysville plant allows associates to view electricity demand at any time, and identify machinery that can be turned off during non-production.

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA.

Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

For more information about ENERGY STAR Certification for Industrial Facilities:  www.energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

Honda Environmental Leadership

Honda is a leader in the development of leading-edge technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

In 2006, Honda became the first automaker to announce voluntary CO2 emissions reduction targets for its global fleet of automobile, power sports and power equipment products and its global network of manufacturing plants. In 2011, the company set a new CO2 emission reduction targets for 2020, including a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from its products compared with 2000 levels.

The company leads all automakers with twelve LEED-Certified "Green Buildings" in North America, and last year announced that ten of its 14 North American manufacturing facilities are zero-waste to landfill.

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