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Climate Change and the Environment

Operational Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ford has been a leader in facilities-related greenhouse gas (GHG) and energy-use reductions, public reporting of our GHG emissions and participation in GHG-reduction and trading programs.

In 2010, we adopted a goal to reduce our facility carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30 percent per vehicle produced by 2025. This CO2 goal, which is also based on our stabilization commitment, complements our long-standing facility energy-use reduction targets. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Ford a Goal Setting Certificate for this strategy at its inaugural Climate Leadership Awards Ceremony. In 2012, Ford established a five-year objective to improve our operational energy use per vehicle produced by 25 percent globally by the end of 2016, based on a 2011 baseline normalized for weather and production.


In 2013, we improved global energy efficiency of manufacturing facilities by 17.4 percent against a 2011 year baseline normalized for weather and production levels. Our total energy use for all of our facilities increased by 6 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 due to increased production, increased number of operating facilities, and colder weather, which increases the related energy demands. However, our total energy use per vehicle produced decreased by 4 percent in that timeframe, reflecting increased overall energy efficiency in our facilities.

Similarly, our total CO2 emissions increased slightly from 2012 to 2013 by 0.6 percent. However, our CO2 emissions per vehicle produced decreased by 9 percent during that period, again reflecting increased overall energy efficiency in our facilities. While our CO2 emissions are linked to the amount of energy we use, they do necessarily increase or decrease by exactly the same amount due to variations in energy sources and related emissions factors. For example, in 2013, our total facilities energy use increased by 6 percent compared to 2012, while our total facilities CO2 emissions increased by only 0.6 percent. We reduced our overall facilities-related CO2 emissions by 51 percent, or 5 million metric tons, from 2000 to 2013. During this same period, we reduced facilities-related CO2 emissions per vehicle produced by 46 percent.

Please see the Climate Change and the Environment data section for more detail.

GHG Reporting Initiatives

Ford is officially “Climate Registered” after publishing its complete North American carbon inventory since 2010 with The Climate Registry (TCR), a voluntary carbon-disclosure initiative that links several state-sponsored GHG emissions-reporting efforts, including the California Climate Action Registry and the Eastern Climate Registry. Ford was the first automaker to join TCR and is one of only two automakers to be officially Climate Registered. As TCR members, we must demonstrate environmental stewardship by voluntarily committing to measure, independently verify and publicly report GHG emissions on an annual basis using the TCR’s General Reporting Protocol.

In 2013, we became the first automaker to commit to voluntarily report our GHG emissions in India. We were also the first automaker to participate in GHG reporting initiatives in China, Australia, and Mexico. We also voluntarily report GHG emissions in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan and Venezuela.

Since 2005, GHG emissions from our European manufacturing facilities have been regulated through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. These regulations apply to seven Ford facilities in the U.K., Belgium and Spain.

In the U.S., many of our facilities are subject to EPA GHG reporting requirements and submit reports as required. This EPA program requires submission of annual GHG emissions report by facilities with production processes that fall into certain industrial source categories, or that contain boilers and process heaters and emit 25,000 or more metric tons per year of GHGs.

Our participation in these reporting, emissions-reduction and trading schemes has played an important role in accelerating our facilities’ GHG emissions-reduction activities.

Energy Management Initiatives

Ford is achieving energy-efficiency improvements and energy-use reductions using a variety of initiatives, many of which are described in this section. We regularly look for new technologies, approaches to the identification and definition of potential projects, funding mechanisms and means to implement plant energy-efficiency projects.

We are currently rolling out a Global Departmental-Level Metering initiative (GDLM) to collect electricity and natural gas consumption data at the plant level for all Ford plants globally. This system builds on the utility metering and monitoring system we have used in North America since 2007. The new GDLM program will also improve on the North American system by providing more detailed information down to the department level. We use this near real-time information to create energy-use profiles for plants and to improve decisions about nonproduction shutdowns and load shedding, which involves shutting down certain prearranged electric loads or devices when we reach an upper threshold of electric usage.

We are also upgrading and standardizing the Building Management Systems we use at our facilities to a new global standard. These information management initiatives will provide common reporting tools linked with production and other data sets, with facility maintenance and control systems. These efforts will greatly improve the amount of energy data we have, and the speed and quality of our energy analyses, which will help us identify energy-reduction opportunities more effectively and reduce the time required to make system changes.

In 2013, we finalized the global roll out of our Energy Management Operating System (EMOS), which provides a common and global structure to support and maintain energy-reduction actions, to achieve the corporate goal of improving global energy use per vehicle produced by 25 percent between 2011 and 2016. For more information on the EMOS please see the Facilitating and Measuring Progress section. In North America, we continue to use energy performance contracting as a financing tool to upgrade and replace infrastructure at our plants, commercial buildings and research facilities. Through these contracts, Ford partners with suppliers to replace inefficient equipment, funding the capital investment over time through energy savings. Projects have been implemented to upgrade lighting systems, paint-booth process equipment and compressed air systems, and to significantly reduce the use of steam in our manufacturing facilities. We are also expanding the use of performance contracting to global facilities using global supplier partners to accomplish the 25 percent energy-efficiency improvement objective.

In 2013, we continued to focus on lighting as a key area for energy use improvements. Our Global Facilities Forum (GFF) also rolled out a new global lighting specification, which requires the use of LED technology for all general building lighting requirements. We will continue to update the specification to expand the use of LEDs as the technology advances and is proven effective for our key uses. We are also working to identify other “Mega” type projects to leverage single common actions such as lighting upgrades, compressor controls, steam conversion and enhanced Building Management Systems, in partnership with our global performance contracting partners.

Since 2000, Ford has invested more than $250 million in plant and facility energy-efficiency upgrades. In 2013 alone, we invested more than $5 million in energy-efficiency projects and significant energy-related upgrades were included in our global manufacturing system upgrades. We are working across divisions and regions to ensure that energy efficiency is being addressed in our daily operations and incorporated into the manufacturing processes and facilities, as part of our future vehicle program plans.

In 2013, Ford joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants program, a national partnership initiative to drive a 25 percent reduction in industrial energy intensity in 10 years against a 2011 baseline. Twenty-four of our U.S. plants are part of this initiative.1 We have reduced energy intensity2 by 9.44 percent since 2011 across these 24 plants. We have reduced energy intensity by more than 15 percent at six of the 24 plants and by more than 6 percent at over half of the participating plants since 2011. We’ve made this progress through a number of actions including: upgraded facility lighting systems, upgraded paint process systems, installed advanced computer controls on air compressors, updated heating systems, and aggressively curtailed energy use during extended production shutdown periods.

We are continuing to replicate Ford’s state-of-the-art “3-Wet” paint process. This technology is called “3-Wet” because the advanced chemical composition of the paint materials used allows for the three layers of paint – primer, base coat and clear coat – to be applied while each layer is still wet, which eliminates the stand-alone primer application and dedicated oven required in the conventional painting process. The 3-Wet process also saves the electricity used by the blowers that are typically needed to circulate massive volumes of air through paint booths, and reduces the amount of natural gas needed to heat the air and ovens. As a result, 3-Wet painting reduces CO2 emissions by 15 to 25 percent and volatile organic compound emissions by 10 percent compared to either conventional high-solids solvent-borne or waterborne systems.

In addition to these environmental benefits, this process maintains industry-leading quality and reduces costs. For example, 3-Wet reduces paint processing time by 20 to 25 percent, which correlates to a significant cost reduction. Ford’s laboratory tests show that this high-solids, solvent-borne paint provides better long-term resistance to chips and scratches than waterborne paint systems. In short, the process delivers reduced costs per vehicle produced, reduced CO2, improved energy efficiency and improved quality.

Ford initially implemented the 3-Wet process at our Ohio Assembly Plant in 2007 in the U.S. Since then, we have expanded implementation across our global operations when we build new facilities or refurbish existing ones.

We have implemented the 3-Wet paint process at facilities in the United States, India, Romania, Mexico, China and Thailand. We now use the 3-Wet system at eight of our facilities globally and are expanding it to an additional four plants (two in North America, one in China and one in Spain). Three-Wet conversion will be considered for plant refurbishment actions being planned in line with the corporate business plan.

We are also implementing a number of heat recovery projects at Cologne and Saarlouis assembly plants, including heat recovery from paint oven exhaust stacks, air recirculation systems, and heat recovery from paint spray booths incorporating heat pump technology. We are also recovering waste heat from the air compressor plant to preheat the paint phosphate tank, and making modifications to plant heating and ventilation systems to establish better air recirculation control and temperature control. Wherever feasible, heat energy recovery will be measured by site building management systems. Through these measurements, we know that the Cologne paint oven exhaust stack system has already returned 7 GW-h since it began operation in October 2013. Heat recovery projects currently underway will deliver around 150 GW-h of energy savings per year from 2015 onward.

We are continuing implementation of a new parts-washing system developed in partnership with our supplier, ABB Robotics. Conventional parts-washing systems remove dirt chemically by spraying parts with high volumes of water and detergent at low pressure. Our new standard system, in contrast, cleans parts mechanically by moving them in front of specialized high-pressure nozzles with a robotic arm. This new system represents a significant leap forward in energy efficiency that also improves quality, flexibility, productivity and cost because it uses a smaller pump and lower operating temperatures. We are now using this technology as standard for all engine and transmission final wash applications globally, ensuring that the energy and cost savings will be realized by all future vehicle programs.

Other efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Ford’s plant operations include:

  • aggressively curtailing energy use during nonproduction periods, including a paint shop emissions abatement equipment shutdown plan at nine North American assembly plants that reduces energy use and related CO2 emissions by approximately 5,000 tonnes per facility per year;
  • installing optimized compressed air machines, which are a significant energy user in manufacturing facilities; and
  • installing automated control systems on plant powerhouses and wastewater treatment equipment to increase energy and process efficiency.
  1. Louisville Assembly is excluded from this program because it was not operating in 2011.
  2. We calculate plant-level energy intensity slightly differently at different plants, depending on the operations performed there. Depending on the plant, Ford will calculate energy intensity in terms of source energy consumed (in MMBtus) divided by the number of vehicles produced, number of engines, or powertrain components produced. The percent change in energy intensity are tracked for each facility on both a monthly and annual basis. Ford normalizes its plant-level numbers to account for changes in production volume, and heating and cooling degree days. These metrics are rolled up to the corporate level, with a corporate-wide percent improvement in energy intensity calculated by taking a weighted average of the percent change in energy intensity at the individual facilities.

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