GM Builds Sustainable Plant in Brazil

Primary tabs

GM Builds Sustainable Plant in Brazil

Expected to be LEED certified and landfill free
tweet me:
#GM builds sustainable, #energy efficient plant in Brazil:
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 11:15pm

CAMPAIGN: GM Energy Efficiency

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) Joinville, Brazil - May 10, 2012 -  General Motors is pioneering several environmental practices in its construction of a new engine plant in Joinville in southern Brazil. These sustainable features are expected to accredit the plant for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The sustainable initiatives include the first solar energy system in the Brazilian automotive industry. The facility will be the first to introduce a water recycling process using reverse osmosis and employ a new way of treating sewage and wastewater by a wetland process. It will also be the first GM landfill-free plant in the country.

“We are one of the first companies in Brazil to push environmental innovation into the manufacturing space,” said Grace Lieblein, president of GM do Brasil. “Sustainability is in the DNA of our company, and we are incorporating environmental features into our facilities from the ground up.”

 Sustainable features include:

  • Solar energy to power the plant’s lighting on the manufacturing floors and administrative offices – an amount equal to the energy consumption of 285 Brazilian homes. It will avoid 10 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
  • Solar energy to heat 15,000 liters of water per year – equal to the consumption of 750 people. The system will reduce natural gas costs and avoid 17.6 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
  • Reverse osmosis, a membrane technology filtration system, to produce purified water for drinking and industrial purposes – enough to supply all the tap water used in the plant, saving 22 million liters of water per year.
  • Sewage treatment with filtering gardens instead of chemicals, saving electricity and avoiding 3.6 tons of CO2 per year. The gardens are integrated into the landscape and use vegetation adapted to the site. 
  • Water conservation through use of rainwater to flush toilets and installing low-flow, sensor-based faucets.
  • Waste reduction through use of local materials, certified wood and recycled content in the construction of the facility. The site will recycle and compost food waste.
  • Biodiversity through the planting of 720 native trees on the property.

Leadership also will encourage the use of public transportation and bicycles, and include a parking lot designated solely for FlexFuel vehicles.

If successful in securing LEED status, it will join GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan and its China Headquarters in Shanghai in earning the distinction.

The engine plant will be operating by the end of 2012. GM also is building a transmission plant with similar green innovations in the same industrial complex slated for production in 2014. GM is investing more than 1 billion BRL ($513 million) in the construction of the two plants.

GM do Brasil is committed to sustainability. From 2003 to 2011, its facilities reduced water consumption by 64 percent and energy use by 51 percent on a per-vehicle-produced basis. From 2005 to 2010, it reduced non-recyclable waste by 68 percent per kilogram of vehicle produced. In 2010, all of its sites combined composted nearly 700 tons of organic waste from facility cafeterias.

For more information on GM’s environmental commitment, visit and its sustainability blog,

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

Keywords: Business & Trade | Business & Trade | Energy | Environment & Climate Change | GM | General Motors | LEED | Reports | Technology | efficiency | sustainability

CAMPAIGN: GM Energy Efficiency

CONTENT: Press Release