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Daimler's Detroit Diesel Plant Earns Superior Energy Performance, Saves $37M

March 9, 2016 - 10:51am


sep-1_original.pngDaimler’s Detroit Diesel Corporation facility has earned Platinum certification in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™) program. The facility used a rigorous energy management system to meet the ISO 50001 standard and save an impressive $37 million over 10 years. Even as production at the facility increased 93%, its cumulative energy performance improved 32%—avoiding 442,380 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the decade. These improvements, verified by a third party, instill confidence and certainty to support accelerated investment in energy efficiency.

“Daimler’s Detroit facility has found a winning formula,” said Mark Johnson, Director of DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. “Their systematic approach has cut energy intensity per unit of production by nearly a third, saved money, and considerably reduced their carbon footprint.”

sep-2_original.jpgTo qualify for SEP, the Detroit Diesel facility established a robust energy management system using ISO 50001, tracked the consequent improvements in energy performance, and had a qualified third party verify the results. SEP helped the facility quantify the energy and cost savings and demonstrate a strong return on investment. The independent verification gave corporate management greater confidence in the numbers, leading to additional capital funding for future energy projects at the facility and more flexible payback periods.

The energy team took advantage of the facility’s existing lean manufacturing process (Kaizen principles), ISO 14001 management system, and Six Sigma-trained specialists. To engage employees across the facility, the team launched an internal, web-based database; augmented eLearning opportunities; and created various brochures, pocket cards, and notification boards. Strategically locating story boards and management meetings in a high-visibility area, known as the “Green Corner,” reinforced plant-wide commitment to energy sustainability, and this became a best practice at another Daimler site.

The facility’s multidisciplinary energy team continues to meet weekly to map and review energy usage and evaluate potential energy projects. Additional meters installed throughout the facility help the team to better visualize energy flows, identify significant energy uses, and prioritize energy efficiency efforts.

Superior Energy Performance® is a DOE-administered certification program that provides guidance, tools, and protocols for facilities that want to achieve deeper, more sustained savings from ISO 50001. SEP also complements and supports the industrial part of DOE's Better Buildings Initiative by verifying facility-level energy performance improvements and savings achieved by participants in the Better Buildings, Better Plants program. Members of the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board developed SEP as a transparent system for certifying sustained improvements in energy performance and management practices.