Nissan North America's factories in Smyrna, TN (pictured above) and Canton, MS recently received an Energy Star Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, becoming only the third car-maker to get the award. One of Nissan's aims was to reduce VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions by using water borne paints in both the primer and color/clear coat paint operations in Canton and one of the two paint shops in Smyrna. They have also moved to doing batch painting operations where a series of bodies in a given color are painted before switching to another color to paint another batch. This helps minimize waste during changeovers. This is a change from the practice that has been used in many plants since the mid-eighties. At that time, when many assembly plant paint shops were re-built with automated robotic paint shops, they started doing single shot jobs, often switching colors between each body. The new equipment allowed this flexibility so that car makers could build cars according to the orders as they came in from dealers. It was part of the whole move to just-in-time manufacturing. Of course each color change means blowing out the sprayers before the next body goes through which meant a lot of wasted paint and water.

The Smyrna plant has also reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides and carbon monoxide by substituting the burning of coal at certain times with natural gas for their power plant. The Dechard, TN power-train plant was not included in the award because the EPA has not yet set standards for power-train plants. However, all three facilities have achieved ISO 14001 certification for their environmental management. The Nissan press release is after the jump.

[Source: Nissan]

Nissan Plants Earn EPA's Energy Star Award [Sept. 19, 06]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 19, 2006) – Nissan North America's (NNA) automotive manufacturing plants in Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss., have earned the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star award. The first-time award, which was recently presented in Washington, D.C., recognizes energy-efficient operations that have cut pollution, lowered energy consumption and reduced costs.

Nissan is one of only three automakers to receive the award and is recognized among 17 U.S. manufacturing plants that prevented some 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. The award is based on achieving an energy performance score in the top 25 percent nationally, based on the EPA\'s plant energy performance indicators measured on actual energy use. EPA is working with 10 industries to advance innovative corporate energy management tools.

"Nissan has made conserving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions a priority at all three of our U.S. plants," said Dan Gaudette, senior vice president of North American Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management at Nissan North America. "The Energy Star award really belongs to every Nissan employee for their efforts to help minimize our facilities' impact on the environment. We're pleased to be among the first automakers to receive this award."

EPA's national energy performance rating system, developed in cooperation with several industries, enables companies to evaluate the energy efficiency of their plants relative to their industries and to develop additional energy improvement goals and plans.

"By committing to smart energy use, America\'s historic economic backbone is now supporting our nation's brightening environmental future," said U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Working with our manufacturing partners, we are implementing President Bush\'s aggressive and practical strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while growing the American economy."

Nissan focuses on three primary environmental objectives in its operations around the world. They include managing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, recycling, and protecting air, water and soil. All three of Nissan's U.S. manufacturing plants have received certification to the ISO 14001 international environmental management standard.

Nissan's powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn., was not rated according to the EPA's energy performance rating system because the federal agency's comparison tool does not yet apply to powertrain plants.
Ongoing energy conservation practices at all three Nissan plants include eliminating compressed air leaks, shortening startup times on process equipment, reducing operating temperatures in equipment where possible, and establishing plant-wide task forces to generate energy-savings ideas. Employees are encouraged to turn off air compressors, equipment, lights and TV monitors when not in use.

Nissan aims to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted during the automobile painting process. Waterborne paints are used at one of the two paint plants in Smyrna and in both the primer and base-coat applications in the paint plant in Canton. In the paint process, "color blocking" -- painting a series of units in the same color -- conserves paints and solvents, reduces waste and releases fewer VOCs.

CO2, nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides (SOx), and carbon monoxide emissions are further reduced at the Smyrna Plant through the use of natural gas in lieu of coal during critical time periods. Low-sulfur coal is burned to further reduce SOx emissions.

In North America, NNA's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan's manufacturing facilities have the annual capacity to produce 950,000 vehicles at the Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss., automotive assembly plants and 1 million engines at the Decherd, Tenn. powertrain assembly plant. More information on NNA and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.nissannews.com or by contacting the corporate media line at 615/725-5631.


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