Honda plant reflects environmental commitment - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  October 18, 2019

Honda plant reflects environmental commitment

Honda has made a commitment to preserve Blue Skies for Our Children globally by reducing the environmental impact of its products and factories. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) is a good example of that commitment. 

In May 2018, HMIN began producing the Insight hybrid, the third generation of Honda’s hybrid electric vehicle, at the Greensburg, Indiana plant. The Insight, which won the 2019 Green Car of the Year Award, features a two-motor hybrid powertrain and a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that runs on Atkinson cycle combined with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.

However, manufacturing energy efficiency began more than 10 years ago, at the inception of this 2.4 million square foot plant.

Energy Efficiency Roots
Honda has energy efficient built into its genes. HMIN used the lessons of North American facilities that came before it, starting with resourceful use of space, using variable frequency drives wherever possible.

Air handling associated with painting operations has been minimized by reducing the size of the paint booths and recycling process air where possible. The facility also features a system to control high-bay lights and temperature throughout the production floor.

Efficient Operations
To maximize plant efficiency, associates at HMIN focus on only consuming energy during production. Teams have implemented an off-shift energy management program to minimize the energy consumed when the plant is not operating.

Each department sets non-production energy use targets and manage to those targets. Results are reported to senior leaders, which helps foster accountability and build a culture of energy efficiency. To date, the plant has reduced off-shift energy use by approximately 400,000 kWh per year. 

Compressed Air
Another focus of minimizing energy loss is managed through a rigorous compressed air leak detection program. Each department is required to survey its manufacturing footprint using ultrasonic devices at least once per year to identify compressed air leaks.   

Identified leaks are reported to the equipment service group for repair and results are reported to top management. To date, the program has saved approximately 800,000 kWh per year.

Managing Change
HMIN has grown to accommodate new models and production methods. To maintain green factory status, facility environmental leaders have adopted building and equipment standards for our project leaders to follow.

At Honda, our focus on energy management is to build a culture of energy efficiency and sustainable processes. In that way, when current equipment reaches end-of-life, we will be prepared for the next generation of energy efficiency. 

Throughout North America
The philosophy of Blue Skies for Our Children has been passed on throughout Honda’s global operations and is evidenced in each of our facilities in North America.

Honda ensures that it follows the principles set forth in the Environmental Statement. Our regional operations have broad authority to minimize the environmental impact of their activities. A hallmark of Honda’s environmental initiatives is that planning and execution come from associates in all departments who are engaged with environmental issues as part of their duties.

Life Cycle Assessment
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a critical tool for understanding the impact of our products and operations on the environment. At Honda, the LCA breaks down into six distinct areas for means of identifying opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of operations - Development, Purchasing, Manufacturing, Sales & Service, In-Use and End-of-Life.

Product Development and Recyclability
Honda engineers account for such factors as dismantling complexity, component remanufacturing and the minimization of substances of concern in the design and development of each Honda and Acura product.

We are committed to maintaining a minimum 90% level of design recyclability for all Honda and Acura automobiles, and a 95% level for all powersports and power equipment products sold in North America. Honda and Acura have met the 90% target in all new products since 2004.

Our purchasing departments engage with suppliers and logistics companies to transport parts and materials. To reduce the environmental impact throughout the supply chain, we created 'Green Purchasing' guidelines. Currently, nearly 300 of our suppliers report emissions data. These companies represent 95% of our total North American parts purchasing expenditures.

Approximately 97% of the CO2e emissions from our manufacturing operations in North America fall into two categories: 1) Indirect emissions from the production of electricity purchased and consumed by factories; and 2) Direct emissions from consumption of natural gas.

In FY2019, the CO2e emissions decreased 1.5% in part because the East Liberty Auto Plant in Ohio increased its usage of zero CO2 electricity sources and increased implementation of energy-efficient processes.

Sales and Service
Honda also endeavors to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the distribution of service parts from its supplier factories to its warehouses and dealerships. These efforts include the use of more fuel-efficient trucks, the shift from truck to rail for cargo shipment, more efficient tractor-trailer packing and the reengineering of drive routes for improved efficiency.

As a result, Honda reduced the CO2 emissions intensity of North American service parts shipments by 2.6% from a year ago and 47.5% from FY2009 levels, both marking the lowest levels in the last decade.

According to the latest research, 73% of the GHG emissions produced by a vehicle over its lifecycle occurs during in-use operation. We have identified increases in fuel economy and reductions in tailpipe emissions as two of the best ways to reduce those emissions.

A vehicle emits approximately 19.6 pounds of CO2 with every gallon of fuel that it burns. Therefore, increasing the distance traveled per gallon burned reduces CO2. Honda and Acura vehicles are consistently among the industry leaders in fuel efficiency, as shown by FY2019 results including:

  1. Honda and Acura automobiles had a fleet-average unadjusted fuel economy of 38.6 mpg, which is 18% better than the industry average
  2. Honda's motorcycle fleet posted an average fuel economy of 88.5 mpg, a 4.2% increase from one year ago
  3. The CO2 emissions resulting from the use of Honda and Acura automobiles decreased by 1.3% and was 15.1% better than the industry average.

Recycling programs for many parts of our automobiles are key components of our zero-waste-to-landfill strategy in North America. Honda diverted more than 49,200,000 pounds of recyclable material from landfills in FY2019.

Honda established operations in America in 1959 and today employs more than 40,000 associates in the development, manufacturing, and sales of Honda and Acura automobiles, Honda power equipment Honda powersports products, the HondaJet advanced light jet and GE Honda HF120 turbofan engines. Honda also operates 14 major research and development centers in the U.S. with the capacity to fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.


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