Nissan North America Named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year 2011
For the second year in a row, Nissan North America has been named ENERGY STAR partner of the year. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Energy (DOE) honor organizations every year with this award for their commitment to energy efficiency and protecting the environment.
Nissan has been an ENERGY STAR partner since 2006 and is one of the 20,000 organizations participating in the program. Headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, Nissan North America coordinates manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution operations in North America. Also, Nissan operates two assembly plants in Mexico. Since joining the ENERGY STAR program, Nissan’s vehicle assembly plants in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi and the powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tennessee have reported increasing energy efficiency by over 30%. The company saved $11.5 million dollars from these energy efficiencies.
Although advances in technology can help improve energy efficiency, Nissan North America believes being honored as ENERGY STAR partner of the year was due largely to the employees. Increasing awareness among its employees enabled Nissan to be more effective in fulfilling its goals to be environmentally friendly. “Nissan has created an energy-wise culture throughout our operations that fosters an atmosphere of idea sharing. These innovative ideas come from our employees and yield significant reductions in energy usage while helping protect the environment,” said Mike Clemmer, Director and Plant Manager of Paint and Plastics and sub-leader for the Energy Management Competitiveness Team.
Receiving praise from the EPA, Nissan continues to implement the Nissan Green Program to fulfill the company’s views on energy efficiency and the well being of the environment: “Symbiosis of People, Vehicles and Nature.” First started in 2002 to address the various environmental issues automobile companies face, the Nissan Green Program sets challenging goals to push the company to reduce its negative impacts on the environment. Under the Nissan Green Program, Nissan added CO2 emissions as a measurement of performance and its impact on the environment. Previously, the only performance indicators used were “quality, cost, and time.”
Nissan plans to continue to reduce its CO2 emissions in a number of ways. Some of the goals Nissan wants to achieve under the Nissan Green Program include developing and implementing technologies that increases fuel efficiency and to develop and improve the electric powerplants in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Some of the engine technologies Nissan uses include efficient turbocharger systems for four cylinder engines and Variable Valve Event & Lift System (VVEL) for larger V6 and V8 engines. Nissan claims VVEL will reduce CO2 emissions by 10%. Also, Nissan’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is equipped on many of its vehicles. Cars with CVT have 10% less CO2 emissions than cars with equipped with a conventional automatic transmission.
In 2010, Nissan released the Leaf, a mass produced electric car. The Leaf has a driving range of 100 miles based on the EPA LA4 test cycle, though range is affected by various conditions. Nissan also plans to improve hybrid vehicles, including plug in hybrids which are similar to current hybrid vehicles but with the added option of charging the car’s battery at home. The Leaf is powered completely by an electric motor and produces no emissions.
Nissan has also committed to biofuels. All of Nissan’s current gasoline engine cars can use a blend of ethanol up to 10% (E10). The Nissan Armada FFV and Titan FFV can both run on E85.
Nissan plans to develop clean diesel cars that can meet United States Tier2 BIN5 emissions standards for diesel engines.
Through its proactive approach to environmental issues, Nissan has become a leader in energy efficiency. With their development and implementation of new technologies into their operations and products along with the increased awareness among its employees, Nissan continues to set the standard for being an environmentally conscious company. As Elizabeth Craig, Acting Director of EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs, said, “Nissan’s robust energy management program is a national model, demonstrating how to fight climate change through energy efficiency.”