Canadian Manufacturing

GM plant in Brazil becomes first LEED auto facility in South America

Plant uses rooftop solar installation, wastewater treatment facility to drive sustainability



JOINVILLE, Brazil—A General Motors Co. (GM) engine plant in Brazil has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, becoming the first automotive facility in South America to earn the designation.

According to the automaker, its plant in Joinville, Brazil, about 500 kilometres south of Sao Paulo was given the designation by the United States Green Building Council.

The Joinville plant joins five other GM plants that are LEED-certified in China and the U.S.

Investment in sustainable initiatives at the plant was integrated into the design and construction of the facility that began in 2012, and includes a 350-kilowatt solar installation and a wastewater treatment facility.

“The environmental performance of this plant has been on our minds since day one of construction,” General Motors do Brasil president Santiago Chamorro said in a statement.

“This operation embodies GM’s outlook on integrating sustainability into every decision we make—from building efficient facilities to designing efficient vehicles.”

Energy generated by the rooftop solar installation powers plant floor and office lighting at the facility, and is also used to 15,000 litres of water per day, GM said.

The Joinville solar system, the first to be used at an automotive facility in Brazil, helps the plant avoid more than 28 tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to the automaker.

The plant also uses reverse osmosis to filter water from recycled treated wastewater for toilet flushing and industrial processes like cooling towers.

The plant saves 22.9 million litres of water per year—the equivalent of nine Olympic-sized swimming pools.

GM said it’s the first application of its kind at an automotive facility.

“Joinville’s environmental activity is aligned with everything we stand for as a company,” said Mike Robinson, vice-president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs with GM.

“From the use of solar power to water conservation, this is how we want all of our facilities to aspire to operate.”

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