In 2003, Volvo set out to cut volatile organic compound (VOC) air emissions from 24 to 8.6 pounds per truck. Steps to achieve this objective included replacing waterborne paint, which was applied for up to 90 percent of the chassis production, with a zero VOC solvent-borne product. Additional steps cut VOC purge losses from 8 to less than 2 pounds per truck by 2005. Overall, this project reduced reportable plantwide VOC emissions by 64 percent, or 15.4 pounds per truck.
In 2004, Volvo established goals to curb the amount of water used for truck cab leak testing. The company invested in equipment to clean and recycle discharge from the leak testing process, which reduced water use from 2,082 to 1,253 gallons per truck. The following year, Volvo implemented additional measures that cut water use to 1,073 gallons per truck. This project cut total plant water use by 13 million gallons between 2003 and 2005, even though the plant's production activity increased during that period.
As part of this project, Volvo also conducted a 2004 evaluation of its on-site wastewater facility that sent permitted discharge to a local public wastewater treatment site. A feasibility study showed that Volvo could reduce water use by recycling categorical wastewater for reuse at the plant's cooling towers, air supply houses and paint booths. When fully implemented, this plan will reduce water use by 40,000 gallons per day. Volvo managers estimate that this change will reduce water use by 10 million gallons per year.
Both the air and water emission projects were supported by Volvo's integrated environmental information system, which was powered by Essential Air™, Essential Waste™, Essential Compliance Manager™, Essential Chemical Inventory™ and Essential Task Manager™.
As a result of these initiatives, Volvo decreased its cost of inputs, resulting in improved processes, enhanced production efficiency and reached its objective of reducing its environmental impact on the local community.