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A Look at Energy Management at Subaru of Indiana Automotive

May 22, 2013 By Cem Onus

Cem Onus

The energy management system at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) complements its long standing environmental management system culture.  While utility related activities have been completed within the environmental management system umbrella, the implementation of the Energy Management System (EnMS) has really taken energy performance to the next level.  Responsibility for the daily activities of the EnMS fall under the responsibility of the Business Performance Assessment group, along with valuable support of the Total Production Maintenance group who monitor and analyze all of SIA’s energy consumption data.  Under the direction of Tom Easterday, executive vice president and energy management representative, the SIA Energy Management Team has responsibility for setting the direction of energy conservation, improvement, and review of energy related capital projects.  This team meets on a monthly basis.

Eliminating “this is environmental, this is energy”!

SIA Representative Brent Lank explains, “There is a direct correlation between the activities within the energy management system and the impact on our environmental management system objective for reducing CO2.”   Mr. Lank continued that “within the ISO 50001 system we have established tighter control points so that all changes in energy consumption, from a reduction standpoint to an increase in the energy load, can be more easily recognized and the impact on CO2 understood.”  In 2012, SIA began aligning these two systems under a new SIA Sustainability Initiative to help the organization more fully understand the impacts both system have on each other.  Mr. Lank stated, “This new initiative will also be a switch in culture for SIA by eventually eliminating “this is environmental,” and “this is energy”-specific references and replacing them with “this is sustainability.”

What is the role of an Energy Liaison?

SIA identified Energy Liaisons in each of their departments.  Their responsibility is to be involved with the energy activities in their area. These activities are from an improvement identification process, as well as analyzing and communicating energy data within their department.  The Liaisons are also given assignments of identifying the reasons behind targets not being met, etc.  Just like the Energy Management Team, the Liaisons meet on a monthly basis.  Soon these Liaisons will assume the role of ‘Sustainability Liaison’ which will encompass all the responsibilities for energy and environmental activities.

Energy Performance Improvement

SIA aims to achieve 5% energy performance improvement over the ’12-’16 timeframe.  SIA established the baseline year of FY 2011.  They captured the energy consumption data and normalized it for Heating & Cooling Degree days, runtime, and volume to establish their target baseline.   In FY 2012 SIA realized 1.2% energy performance improvement, taking in the account that production level and hours worked increased at the same time.  In FY 2013 SIA realized 7.3% energy performance improvement.

What were the hurdles of implementing ISO 50001 at SIA?

Being one of the first companies to implement ISO 50001, SIA used the draft copy of the standard during implementation.  The SIA team originally assumed that ISO 50001 was a replica of ISO 14001.  The thought was that the new standard changes the word “environmental” to “energy” and that basically you got an ISO 50001 system.   Mr. Lank explained, “While that is true for the ‘common’ requirements, it is not true from a ‘technical’ standpoint.  Understanding energy consumption and performance – and how you monitor and measure that – is MUCH more than just looking at monthly utility bills.  For ISO 50001 to work it is imperative that you not only understand how much energy is being used, but WHERE that energy is being used, WHAT is using it,  and by using the defined variables, understanding HOW well you are using that energy.  This is pretty deep stuff.  So we learned a lot and continue to learn about ‘energy’…and how, where, and what we use.  We learned that it is much different than tracking recycling/reuse numbers for the ISO 14001 system.”

Breaking down the walls

“The second item was we had areas of internal ‘walls’ that needed to be broke down.” said Mr. Lank.  “It was the old ‘protecting our domain’ culture.  I don’t believe anyone felt like their job was threatened by showing this information, but not everyone wanted to play by the new system’s requirements.”  By developing an Energy Management Team, chaired by SIA’s Executive Vice President (who was also the Energy Management Representative) and selecting key members from each of the critical departments, the lines of communication opened up.  Mr. Lank continued, “It caused everyone to work together to ensure the EnMS was implemented correctly.  This team meets monthly had has been critical to growing the EnMS to the level we enjoy today.  Future direction by this team will continue to enhance the EnMS as well as continue to evolve the culture of energy management through all levels of the organization.”

Conclusions

COST AND EMISSION REDUCTION DATA:

FY2012

Energy Improvement Project Capital:  approx. $1 million

Energy Savings realized:  $550,354

Energy reduction:  25,809 MMBTU (combined electrical & natural gas)

CO2 reduction:  5,443 tons

FY2013

Energy Improvement Project Capital:  approx. $1.97 million

Energy Savings realized:  per year – based on current rate = $606,900

Energy reduction:  162,900 MMBTU (combined electrical & natural gas)

Subaru Profile:

1994 – 1st Auto Assembly Plant in the U.S. to become Smoke Free

1998 - 1stAuto Assembly Plant in the U.S. to be ISO 14001 Certified

2002 – 1st Auto Assembly Plant in the U.S. with an on-site solvent recovery and reuse system

2003 – 1st Auto Assembly Plant in the U.S. to be designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation

2004 – 1st Auto Assembly Plant in the U.S. to achieve ZERO LANDFILL

2006 – 1st among all overseas facilities of Japan-based auto makers in Nikkei environmental management survey

2012 – 1st Auto Assembly plant in the U.S. to be ISO 50001 Certified

Mr. Cem O. Onus is a doctoral candidate for International Business at Walden University, with research focus on Energy Efficiency in the US automotive manufacturing industry. He is a business development manager for DEKRA Certification in North America for their management system certification services including ISO 50001 and SEP training and certification, in addition to traditional ISO 9001, 14001, and sector specific standards certification. DEKRA is a global certification body with 28,000 employees worldwide.  DCI is a U.S. based accredited certification body for international management systems. The company is part of the global footprint of DEKRA Certification Group headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.  DCI is a multi-accredited certification body covering all management system business line activities for North America, with a global service capacity.  DEKRA offers services for ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), AS 9100c (aviation, space and defense), TL 9000 (telecommunications), SEP (Superior Energy Performance) and ISO 50001 (energy management) along with auditing services to many other management standards, including customized supplier assessment.



One comment on “A Look at Energy Management at Subaru of Indiana Automotive

  1. Looks like SIA’s next step to is to achieve ENERGY STAR certification for their plant! ENERGY STAR certification indicates that a plant is in the top quartile of energy performance in the US and is a key industry benchmark.

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