DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo’s New River Valley (NRV) assembly plant in Dublin, Va. has become the first US facility to be certified to the ISO 50001 standards under a pilot program supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE). NRV is also the first Superior Energy Performance (SEP)-certified facility to use ISO 50001 as its energy management system standard, according to the company.
NRV is certified to ISO 50001 in the US under the pilot American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accreditation and the first facility SEP-certified to use ISO 50001 under a new pilot ANSI-ANAB accreditation. NRV was SEP-certified at a platinum level – the highest available – for improving energy performance by more than 15% during the three-year period after establishing an energy baseline.
Company officials say these certifications will help the NRV plant further reduce its energy intensity as it attempts to ultimately become carbon neutral. ANAB and ANSI assess and accredit the certification bodies that audit for compliance with SEP and ISO 50001. Volvo, in conjunction with certification/verification body DEKRA, is the first organization to complete the joint ANSI/ANAB ISO 50001/SEP certification pilot program.
“SEP and ISO 50001 certifications are an honour and a direct reflection of the environmental commitment of our entire organization,” said Lars Blomberg, Volvo Trucks vice-president and general manager of the NRV assembly plant. “These certifications required a high degree of cooperation – a total plant effort. Employees at all levels have been actively engaged throughout our entire energy reduction journey.”
To earn SEP certification, facilities must also conform to the ISO 50001 energy management standard, the new international framework for organizations to implement an energy management system. NRV was previously certified to ISO 14001 environmental and ISO 9001 quality standards.
The certifications come less than a year after NRV became the first of 32 major companies participating in DOE’s Better Buildings/Better Plants program, formerly the Save Energy Now LEADER Program, to fulfill its 10-year pledge to reduce the intensity of energy per unit by 25%. Volvo met the program’s target in one year instead of 10. While technologies like building automation systems, solar hot water heaters and infrared heaters helped drive NRV’s energy reductions, many of the energy-saving ideas have come from employees, according to the company.
“All layers of our organization are dedicated to lean concepts and implementing new ways to reduce energy,” Blomberg said. “Reducing energy while improving efficiency has helped us remain very competitive during a time when some companies are moving their manufacturing operations to lower cost environments.”
“Congratulations to all the NRV employees for their many contributions to help achieve these leading-edge energy certifications,” said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Trucks North American sales and marketing. “The lean, energy-focused culture and total commitment to NRV’s carbon-neutral initiative is evident through the achievement of these two national certifications.”
“The tremendous energy reduction efforts at NRV have really resonated with our customers visiting the plant as well. They know their Volvo trucks are fuel efficient and they can see how that care for the environment is intertwined throughout the Volvo culture and manufacturing process,” Huibers said.
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