The Daimler Truck North America Detroit® Plant in Detroit, Michigan.

The Daimler Truck North America Detroit® Plant in Detroit, Michigan.  

Beginning in 2014, Daimler Truck North America set out on a journey to save energy in manufacturing. At the Detroit® Plant their successes have supported improvements to the facility as well as the implementation of a new regional training program. In the years since, and for three consecutive cycles, the manufacturer has earned Platinum Level SEP 50001 certification-- a recognition that only happens when a facility goes above and beyond certification requirements. The Detroit® Plant also participates in the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office’s (IEDO) Better Plants program, which works with industrial partners to develop, implement, and share technologies and best practices to increase energy and water efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities. SEP 50001 and Better Plants work in tandem to promote lasting energy savings for a cleaner, greener manufacturing industry.  

The Detroit® Plant started their journey to energy management leadership by becoming certified to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 50001 energy management standard, an international certification that requires third party audit of a company’s energy management system. That wasn’t enough for Detroit® Plant, and in 2015, they decided to pursue Superior Energy Performance (SEP) 50001. The IEDO program provides guidance, tools, and protocols for facilities to achieve deeper, sustainable savings. The SEP certification combines ISO 50001 certification with a robust measurement protocol that requires 3rd party verification of energy savings.  Of the two avenues to SEP 50001 program certification, the Detroit® Plant opted for the mature pathway which consisted of an evaluation period of 10 years, capturing energy savings activities since 2004. 

With improved energy monitoring, not only could the plant identify and pursue energy saving opportunities, but they could also re-invest these savings in their manufacturing workforce. The Daimler Truck North America Detroit® Plant systems management efforts included installing additional meters throughout the facility to help the team visualize energy flows, identify significant energy uses, and prioritize energy efficiency efforts. The Detroit® Plant also engaged their employees to promote awareness and reinforce their commitment to energy sustainability. 

Matt Pfaffenbach, Detroit® Plant Manager, said “Detroit’s pursuit of Platinum Level SEP 50001 certification is just one part of our location’s sustainability journey. Savings generated through these efforts have been invested in manufacturing the next generation of Detroit eMobility products, supporting our long-term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” 

The Detroit® Plant’s commitment to energy awareness is reflected in their most recent achievements. In total, their energy cost savings have exceeded $37 million over 10 years; a remarkable success as the facility’s production has, in parallel, increased by 93%. Their initial 2015 certification boasted 32.5% energy performance improvement over ten years. Certification earned in 2018 showed improved performance by 11.1% over three years, and Detroit® Plant’s  latest efforts resulted in an additional three-year 5.8% improvement. These certifications and successes have elevated Detroit® Plant’s status as a leader in the industrial and automotive sectors.  

Detroit® Plant’s energy management efforts have also increased employee engagement and had a positive impact on productivity. Most recently, Detroit® Plant’s has renovated their space for the introduction of high voltage battery pack and electric rear axle assembly. Additional cost savings were used to convert part of an onsite building into a regional training facility. 

Everyone benefits from investing in energy savings management systems and achieving successful certification levels.

Aside from overall cost reductions, there is a competitive advantage for facilities like the Detroit® Plant that have taken steps to ensure maximum energy savings. Their certifications and initiative in energy management demonstrate Daimler’s ability to not only achieve, but also maintain energy savings, which is desirable for any company looking to develop and source products from the Detroit facility. All this work supports industrial decarbonization. 

Dwayne Kubacki, Senior Facility Engineer CEM, said, “Detroit® will continue to review the operational processes and drive additional energy savings. As members of the DOE Better Plants Program, we plan to further engage our employees and operators in energy awareness and look forward to continued reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and increased reliance on renewal energy sources to power our facility.”  

SEP 50001 and Better Plants are two programs within IEDO that promote energy savings management systems helping organizations reduce emissions and develop their workforce in support of industrial decarbonization. 


The Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) supports innovation in technologies and the adoption of practices to enable the industrial sector to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. IEDO has three major program teams: energy and emissions intensive industries, cross-sector technologies, and technical assistance and workforce development. These programs are working toward decarbonizing the industrial sector. 

Read more about IEDO here

About Detroit 

Detroit® is a single-source trucking business solution that offers mid-range and heavy-duty diesel engines, ePowertrains, eMobility technology and services, transmissions, axles, safety systems and connected vehicle services for on-highway and vocational commercial markets. Detroit products are sold and serviced through a network of hundreds of locations in North America. For more information, or to find the nearest Detroit location, visit Detroit is a brand of Detroit Diesel Corporation, a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America.