Energy system retrofits save General Motors more than $7 million a year
General Motors


Background

General Motors is a leading global auto manufacturer, selling a range of vehicles under brands that include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. The company’s goal by 2050 is to meet the electricity needs of its worldwide operations with 100 percent renewable energy. GM seeks creative and innovative solutions for the environment and is committed to use of policies and technologies that promote a cleaner planet.


Approach

GM hired Worthington Energy Innovations to design energy system retrofits at their manufacturing plants in Rochester, NY, Livonia, MI and Drayton Plains, MI. These smarter, integrated systems could produce maximum energy efficiency and savings.

At the Rochester facility, Worthington Energy Innovations engineering teams shut down steam systems and converted them to gas-fired closed hot water loops. This innovative substitution alone can improve energy performance by 40 to 50 percent for heating and 70 to 80 percent for absorption chillers.

Worthington Energy Innovations’ work at the Livonia plant involved redesigning the energy system by retrofitting its gas-fired boilers. The Drayton Plains plant was converted to Worthington Energy Innovations’ patented “Bigfoot” ductless building pressurization system.

Bigfoot removes the need for ductwork by pressurizing a building and using the laws of thermodynamics to distribute warm and cool air. Without ductwork, this pressurization significantly reduces the cost of circulating air. This technology also helps recover waste heat for use in HVAC loads, maintains a nearly constant, comfortable temperature and significantly improves indoor air quality.


Results

Worthington Energy Innovations’ energy system retrofits for these GM manufacturing plants helped the company realize more than $7 million in annual savings. The average ROI was just two-and-one-half to three-and-one-half years. The GM Rochester plant project also showcases Bigfoot’s ductless heating and cooling strategy.