Turning off the lights saves millions at Toledo plant - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Turning off the lights saves millions at Toledo plant

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Employees at GM's Toledo Transmission plant have won a lot of awards for the work they do and you can add one more to the list. The plant has been given the EPA's Energy Star award and they've saved GM millions in energy costs in the process.

It's a plant wide effort, everyone from the assembly lines all the way to the front office gets involved in making the plant green. The outside of the Toledo Transmission plant is green and so is the inside. Thomas Wynn is the Site Utility Manager at the plant, "As we invested in this plant and put in new equipment, a lot changed."

They build about 25,000 transmissions inside the plant every week and the way they're now doing that is adding up to big savings. Laura Bartling is the lead environmental engineer at the plant, "I think people would be surprised if they saw the kinds of things that can happen in a manufacturing environment."

They cut the energy used to build each transmission by 32 percent in 2011 and the changes they've made saved three million dollars in energy costs last year. You might not think savings millions would be easy, but it is as simple as turning lights on and off. In fact, Wynn says turning off lights and equipment has made all the difference, "It's everything from the tightness of the building, to lighting to an automated system that programs lights and the air conditioning and heating to come on and off."

The green movement at Toledo Transmission is not just about energy savings. Bartling says they also have an aggressive recycling effort inside,"Every piece of waste that comes out of this plant, if it does not go out as part of a transmission, either goes to a recycling program or waste to energy program. We generate enough aluminum chips to make about ten million pop cans a year."

Wynn says they share the savings company wide, "When one plant learns to do something well we share it with other GM plants around the world so that everyone can take advantage of that lesson learned."

Here's another interesting green fact from the plant. The average American household generates 5 pounds of waste a day. Bartling says the plant, which has about 2,000 employees,only generates 1 pound a day. Remember they have landfill free status, meaning all waste from the plant is recycled or used in a waste to energy program.

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