“Green Path” Initiative: Reduce Total Life-Cycle Environmental Impact
In keeping with its commitment to produce vehicles with reduced CO2 emissions at sustainable, energy-efficient plants, Honda has announced several initiatives under new “Green Path” approach to reducing the total life-cycle environmental impact of its products and operations in North America.
As a hallmark of this new initiative, Honda also announced a $210 million investment in a new, more environmentally responsible auto-body painting facility at its Marysville, Ohio auto plant, the largest of Honda’s eight auto plants in North America.
Honda has established a voluntary goal to reduce its total GHG emissions by 50 percent by the year 2050, compared to 2000 levels. In 2006, Honda was the first auto company to voluntarily and announce targets for the reduction of its CO2 emissions for its products and operations globally.
Honda’s “Green Path” approach, announced during a media tour of its operations in Ohio, seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of substances of concern (SOCs) and scarce natural resources in the design of its vehicles, significantly reduce the CO2 intensity and water use of its manufacturing operations,
continue to decrease CO2 emissions from the transportation of vehicles from its plants to dealers, and expand the involvement of U.S. Honda and Acura dealers in its “Green Dealer” program.
Honda is showcasing its approach to reducing the environmental footprint of its products and operations in North America with a new short film titled “GreenPath,” viewable here. From designing and building a new vehicle to transporting and selling it, the video highlights the efforts Honda makes in every stage ofa vehicle’s lifecycle to reduce its impact on the environment.
“When one thinks about what automakers can do to help the environment, the immediate thought is about improving fuel efficiency and developing alternatives to gasoline,” said Ryan Harty, manager of Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office. “We work every day on these issues. But there’s
much more automakers can do beyond fuel efficiency to reduce our environmental impact by adopting energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout our operations.”
Honda has long been a leader in developing new and unique approaches to reducing its environmental impact. The company regularly encourages its associates to dream up new ideas to address environmental opportunities, as documented in its award-winning Environmental Short Film Series.
The new “Green Path” initiatives announced by Honda include:
State-of-the-Art Vehicle Painting System The Marysville Auto Plant, Honda’s largest automobile manufacturing facility in North America, will invest $210 million in a state-of-the-art paint facility that will significantly reduce the environmental impact of the auto-body painting process. When complete, the new paint shop will be one of the most advanced automobile painting facilities in the world.
Use of a higher efficiency paint-curing process, a new waterborne two component primer material and “dry-booth” paint over spray technology, will eliminate water used to capture paint particulates, which is one of the few remaining landfill waste streams in the manufacturing process. The new paint line will cut
CO2 emissions in the painting process by 18 percent (12,000 metric tons annually) and reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC) by 66 percent.
Connecticut Parts Distribution Center Adds 1-Megawatt Solar Array Honda has installed a 1-megawatt rooftop solar array at its 400,000 square foot parts distribution center in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. When operational, the array of nearly 5,000 high-efficiency photovoltaic panels, generating 1.4 gigawatt-hours of energy annually, is anticipated to meet more than half of the site’s total electricity needs and offset an estimated 576 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The project is an early result of an ongoing companywide evaluation aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy to meet its power needs. Another example of this effort is Honda’s Russells Point, Ohio, transmission plant, which is the first auto plant in America to utilize on-site wind power for a substantial portion of its energy use.
The most recent data shows that the turbines are not only consistently reaching their targets, but in nine of the 12 months have outperformed projections. In the last calendar year, the turbines out-produced initial estimates by more than 60 percent, while generating more than 10,000 MWh of power.
Expansion of Honda “Green Dealer” Program
After a successful rollout in 2012 of the Honda and Acura Environmental Leadership “Green Dealer” Program to more than 1,300 Honda and Acura automobile dealers in the U.S., the program is now being expanded to include Honda’s extensive network of powersports and power equipment dealers throughout the U.S. The program rewards dealers who measurably reduce the environmental impact of their operations. Honda has also issued a “Green Dealer” guide that provides a roadmap for dealers and other businesses interested in going green to quantifiably reduce their energy and water consumption while cutting operating costs. Honda’s “Green Dealer” guide is viewable and available for download here.
Honda’s “Green Path” approach includes:
Honda engineers are working not only to advance the fuel efficiency and low-emissions performance of
Honda and Acura products, but also to reduce the use of non-recyclable materials and potentially toxic
Honda and Acura vehicles are designed to improve the recyclability of materials at the end of a
product’s useful life. Honda is achieving 90 percent level of design recyclability for automobiles and 95 percent level for powersports and power equipment products.
Building Products (“Green Factory” and “Green Logistics”)
Honda continually strives to improve energy efficiency and to reduce waste, water use and emissions
from the manufacturing of its products. Activities include real-time monitoring of energy use, the use of energy-efficient equipment and lighting, rapidly shutting off equipment during non-production periods,using reusable containers for parts shipments, recycling waste and improving the efficiency of transporting parts from supplier plants to Honda factories. The CO2 emissions intensity of automobile production in North America was 592 kg/auto in FY14 – down 21.6 percent from a high of 755 kg/auto in FY11.
Waste sent to landfills from automobile manufacturing operations in North America has been cut 97 percent since FY2001—from 26.2 kg/auto to just 0.8 kg/auto in FY14.
Water used in automobile production in North America reached a three-year low of 710 gal/auto in FY14, compared to 850 gal/auto in FY12. In August of this year Honda opened its first on-site CNG refueling station in Marysville, Ohio, to promote the use of CNG by its shipping partners. The station is anticipated to supply CNG for upwards of 100 suppliers and more than two million miles of truck travel each year, cutting CO2 emissions by as much as 1,000 metric tons annually.
Transporting Products and Parts (“Green Logistics”)
To reduce CO2 emissions from the shipping of finished vehicles and service parts, Honda promotes the use of more fuel-efficient trucks and driving practices, including optimizing shipping routes, working with U.S. EPA Smartway Transport-certified shipping partners and introducing, where possible, more fuelefficient modes of transport, such as rail cars instead of trucks. Honda also helped in the design of trilevel Auto-Max railcars that can carry more vehicles in a single carload than other railcars, reducing the energy intensity of product shipments.
The CO2 emissions intensity of transporting finished products from Honda factories to Honda and Acura dealerships in the U.S. has been reduced 14.3 percent over the past seven years, from 0.38 metric tons/auto in FY08 to 0.24 metric tons/auto in FY14. The CO2 intensity of transporting service parts from Honda warehouse facilities to dealerships has been reduced more than 35 percent over the past six years, from 56 metric tons/$1 million in parts sales to 36 MT/$1M in FY14
In 2012 Honda launched a program to help its independent dealers measurably reduce the environmental impact of their operations. To facilitate change, Honda developed and tested an energy reduction program, tuned specifically for dealerships, including a path to achieving zero net energy use,while significantly lowering operating costs . Initiatives taken by dealers include the use of more energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems,installing motion sensors, adding rainwater collection systems and utilizing renewable solar energy.
- Today, Honda has more than 300 U.S. dealers that were enrolled in its “Green Dealer” program,including 84 that have received an award, 11 at the Platinum level, reserved for those who cut energy use by at least 50 percent. Using Honda’s guidelines, Honda and Acura dealers in the U.S. have cut annual CO2 emissions by more than 10,000 tons, and reducing annual energy costs by more than $1.8 million dollars.
- In 2013, Rossi Honda in Vineland, New Jersey, became the first electric grid-neutral new
automobile dealer in America, producing more energy from on-site solar panels than it takes from the public utility grid.