Global carbon reduction budget helps Nissan tackle energy efficiency, save millions - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  July 19, 2016 - By Amy Poszywak

Global carbon reduction budget helps Nissan tackle energy efficiency, save millions

Exclusive to Smart Energy Decisions 

This story is the eighth in a series of original features exploring the successes of a selection of corporations recognized by Energy Star for achievements in energy efficiency. Each company we've talked with for this series, made possible through our partnership with Energy Star, has a unique story about their efforts to reduce electric use across their organization. Taken in aggregate, we hope the series provides readers with a useful glimpse into the kinds of strategies being implemented across the commercial and industrial sectors as well as a deeper understanding of vetted, real-life tactics for cutting consumption.

One of a growing number of large corporations to have established the practice, Nissan Motor Corp. in 2012 made the decision to set aside a global corporate budget for carbon-reduction initiatives, including energy efficiency.

The result? Since the program was implemented, Nissan's U.S. manufacturing facilities have completed more than $4.7 million worth of energy efficiency projects that have resulted in annual cost and emissions savings exceeding $3.6 million.

Nissan initiated the program with capital expenditures set aside for carbon reduction initiatives at about $2 million per year; since then, the CapEx amount increased annually to hit $6 million in 2015. Continued annual increases are expected as the company determines the investments necessary to meet its Nissan Green Program.

Most recently, Nissan was able to successfully complete two major energy efficiency projects in 2015 at its U.S. manufacturing facilities that may not have been possible without the funding provided by the carbon CapEx budget, according to Chris Goddard, manager of energy and environmental engineering at Nissan North America. One, an optimization of the chilled water system at Nissan's Canton plant in Mississippi, helped reduce the facility’s electric load so significantly that the company expects the savings to generate the project’s payback within a year and a half.

The second, implemented in the fall of 2015, was an innovative approach to addressing compressed air efficiency at the Nissan's Decherd, Tenn., powertrain site. The project, which reduced compressed air blow-off from centrifugal compressors, was so successful that the company has since rolled it out to two more U.S. manufacturing sites.

Goddard recently told Smart Energy Decisions:

This is an approach to compressed air that we've not heard many of our industrial partners discuss. The solution was unique as it addressed a flaw of many compressor control systems in that it directly balanced the compressors. When controlling the supply side of compressed air, traditional strategies to reduce blow-off involve hardware modifications such as adding compressed air storage. This would have involved a lot of capital and reduced the return on investment. As an alternative, the implementation of this project was primarily software and controls. We already had continuous monitoring of our compressors and the ability to control them from a central controller, so this was a very economical solution.
Successful completion of the projects helped Nissan North America earn Energy Star’s partner of the year, sustained excellence award for its fifth-consecutive year. Goddard said the company’s partnership with Energy Star helped to gather benchmarking data to support the company’s decision to extend payback for carbon reduction projects to three years from one year.

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