Bentley gets feted for cutting factory's water use by 36%

UK luxury automaker Bentley can't exactly brag to environmentalists about the way its vehicles burn fuel, but at least its water usage is way down. The company was the recipient of the Carbon Trust Water Standard, which is "the world's first water reduction certificate." Bentley was the first automaker to receive the award because it cut water use last year at its 3.5-million-square foot Crewe factory by a whopping 36 percent.

The company specifically made improvements to its paint-shop operations and its water-treatment facilities. Additionally, Bentley installed low-flush toilets and automatic taps in facility's bathrooms. The factory produced 8,500 cars last year. And the company's green-friendly efforts weren't limited to water use, either. The factory is home to a rooftop solar array consisting of 20,000 panels, the UK's largest.

All of this in some ways kind of sort of helps make up for the fact that the Bentley Mulsanne was named the ninth "meanest" US production vehicle to the environment earlier this year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That's what a 6.8-liter V8 with an 11/18 city/highway fuel-efficiency split will get you, though it's a scary thought that there are eight production vehicles doing more damage to the environment than that. Check out Bentley's press release below.
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Bentley awarded Carbon Trust Water Standard

35 per cent water usage reduction at Crewe headquarters

(Crewe, 22 October 2013). Bentley has become the first automotive manufacturer, and among the first ten organisations in the world, to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard. This comes after the company reduced its water usage by 35.7 per cent over the previous year at its headquarters in Crewe, to 109,284 m³ in 2012.

Achieving this reduction, Bentley's Environmental Team implemented a number of initiatives, after calling on support from the wider workforce. Over 4,000 Crewe-based employees were asked for suggestions on water reduction measures, which resulted in an overhaul of certain parts of the 339,000m³ factory site.

Commenting on the achievement, Michael Straughan, Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: "Bentley works hard to continuously improve its overall environmental performance and this achievement recognises our positive commitment to minimising our water footprint. We have further measures planned to increase this reduction, and will continue to listen to and integrate positive ideas from our Colleagues."

As part of the reduction, Bentley's Paint Shop and water treatment facilities were renovated, and a dedicated water recycling facility was built. This facility enables Bentley to re-use water efficiently, with little wastage, preparing cars as they enter the paint spraying process.

Bentley also invested heavily in the replacement and modernisation of major sections of both the water main and fire hydrant systems across the site, eliminating many underground leaks that occurred because of the more traditional mains supply pipes.

The domestic services throughout the Bentley factory were also analysed by the Environmental Team, choosing to install automatic taps and low-flush toilets in washrooms, saving over 1,500m³ of water every year.

Darrran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, added: "As the first carmaker to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard, Bentley is setting an example for how production efficiency can deliver significant environmental benefits. We would like to congratulate the company and the staff on all they have achieved."

The Carbon Trust Water Standard is the world's first water use reduction certificate, measuring and managing water use of organisations. To achieve the Standard, organisations are put through a rigorous assessment.

This involves having an accurate water use calculation, looking at water input and output data, including an independent site assessment. This compares current use against previous performance. There is also a qualitative assessment of good water management practices.

This reduction is just one environmental measure that Bentley has put in place at its headquarters, which manufactured over 8,500 cars in 2012. The company recently installed the UK's largest roof-mounted solar panel system, with over 20,000 solar panels, reducing CO2 usage by over 2,500 tonnes per year.

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